In reality, this problem was acknowledged and resolved by one of the parties, but I want to know what to do in theoretical future scenarios.

  • My Airbnb account was recently hacked.
  • I don't know why, but I had previously given the Airbnb account a permanent pre-approved PayPal DD connection.
  • The hackers used this connection to make a large purchase on a Credit Card associated with the PayPal account.

Both PayPal and my Bank asserted that this wasn't their problem, and claimed that as far as they were concerned the transaction was appropriately approved and they wouldn't do anything.

In reality, Airbnb refunded the transaction, but supposing they'd refused to do so, they I would have been out by £800 as a result of fraud.

Which of the 3 companies should I focus on in this circumstance, to try to get my money back? Do I have any legal recourse against any of them?

I was under the impression that using Credit Cards gave you a lot of protection, because you could just tell your Bank that a Transaction was fraudulent?

  • What did they actually buy with the credit card? An Airbnb place, or something completely different? It would seem odd that your approval for the Airbnb account to charge Paypal could be used for anything other than things Airbnb sell. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 25 '19 at 12:33

It would depend on what you mean by "my Airbnb account was hacked". If it was hacked because someone broke into Airbnb's database and they stored passwords in clear text, then Airbnb would be at fault. If it was hacked because your password is "passw0rd", then no company would be at fault.

For Paypal and your credit card bank, because you linked them to auto-charge, you would have had to digitally sign something from both Paypal and Airbnb that basically said "I give permission to X to assert that any charge made is authorized by me". So Paypal will basically tell your credit card that any charge by Paypal is good and Paypal will take care of any fraud. So the normal dispute protection that credit cards give would not normally apply. Similarly, Airbnb would tell Paypal that any charge from your account to Paypal is good and that they would handle any fraud associated with your account (which they apparently did).

  • I suspect that you just stumbled upon an extremely interesting legal question.... Who is at fault if your password is hacked ? (sorry for the off-topic mind wander) Is it not the responsibility of the business to enforce password restrictions that don't allow you easy passwords ? Is it not also the responsibility of the business to make sure they don't get brute-forced ? If my password is indeed Passw0rd but it took the hackers more than 2 tries, why is it my fault ? (again, off-topic, sorry) – xyious May 6 '19 at 18:26
  • @xyious "Is it not the responsibility of the business to enforce password restrictions that don't allow you easy passwords ?" Is it the construction company's responsibility to make sure you lock your front door at night? Should they be held liable for any theft just because you figured no one would actually try turning the knob while you were out? – Steve-O May 7 '19 at 20:47
  • @Steve-O So I'm owning their website now ? The premise is entirely different. If you choose a hard to guess password and it gets brute-forced, is it your fault ? If the site somehow allows someone to make 10 billion guesses per second on your password and they hack into your account, is it your fault ? I would argue that it's not. which is why it shouldn't be when your password is literally password and they 1) allowed that password and 2) allowed it to be brute-forced. – xyious May 7 '19 at 21:20
  • @xyious I would argue that you bear a certain amount of ownership for your account on their website, yes. You signed up. You agreed to their terms of service. You chose the password that protects it. Is it your fault if your account gets hacked? No, I never suggested it was. But it's also not automatically their fault. The person truly at fault is the hacker, but the sad reality is they are unlikely to face justice. Life isn't always fair. – Steve-O May 9 '19 at 3:05

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