LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed multiple criminal counts against the owner of West Coast Maids, an online maid service, for allegedly over-charging the credit cards of customers as punishment for writing negative online reviews.
“Customers have a right to express honest views about a company,” said Feuer. “Illegally charging customers as retaliation for expressing their views is outrageous.”
Steve Yojin Yun, 42, the owner of online maid service companies West Coast Maids and California Maids, was charged with seven counts of identity theft for violations on four separate victims. If convicted, Yun could face up to seven years in jail and/or a $7,000 fine. Arraignment is scheduled for February 26, 2016in Department 40 of Los Angeles Superior Court.
An investigation was conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs after receiving complaints from victims who had retained maid services through the use of the on-line referral services provided by West Coast Maids and California Maids since January 2013. When the victims were dissatisfied and posted negative reviews on Yelp, they were allegedly contacted by “Steve,” the office manager and asked that the negative review be removed off of Yelp in exchange for a complete refund. If and when the victim refused, the victim’s credit cards were allegedly charged again. The office manager also allegedly made various threats to post negative online comments on the victim’s employer’s website.
If customers believe they are victims and wish to report the crime, they can contact Esther Martinez of the Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or complaints may be filed online.
Deputy City Attorney Onica Cole of the Consumer and Workforce Protection Section is prosecuting the case.