The bridal party who claim they were filmed in their rental home while preparing for their wedding have laid complaints with police and the Privacy Commissioner.
But the property owner has hit back, saying the camera was only for security purposes and had to be activated manually.
Bridesmaid Sarah Muir said they'd been less than impressed by the response received from the owner of the West Auckland property they rented on Friday night, after he appeared to dismiss their concerns and request for their money back.
Meanwhile, privacy law expert Kathryn Dalziel said the property owners could be prosecuted if their security cameras caught their occupants in a state of undress and charged with making an intimate visual recording.
Auckland couple Shannell Henderson and Jimmy Fitzpatrick were looking forward to their wedding day on Saturday.
As is tradition, Henderson and her fellow bridesmaids hired out the rural cottage the night before the wedding. After setting up the venue they went back to their accommodation, had a couple of wines and joked about being filmed after watching a segment on the news.
Muir said she looked up to see a lightbulb protruding from its fitting and appeared to be bigger than the others.
They pulled it down and discovered it not only had an SD card in it but in her view it appeared to be recording.
The incident left them all shocked and angry.
When contacted today, Muir said she had laid a complaint with police and had also contacted the Privacy Commissioner.
Yesterday she also emailed the property owner outlining her concerns and demanding a refund. She was disappointed with the response, received today, which she felt appeared to brush off the group's concerns.
"[Property] have more than 100 reviews and more than 80% guests give us high marks; We just have the best reviews awards 2018 on booking.com; the security camera with light on the top on kitchen will only on at night for security reasons [sic] ... we are confident the service we provide to the guests," the owner wrote.
Fitzpatrick also told the Herald he had concerns that his two young daughters, aged 3 and 6, could also have been filmed as they were walking around in their underwear as they got changed.
Dalziel said filming someone in their underwear or less, or while they were doing sexual activity or getting undressed, was illegal.
"If someone is photographed [or filmed] in their underwear or less or doing sexual activity in the bathroom or getting undressed or anything like that, they have now just committed an offence under the Crimes Act of making an intimate visual recording."
She wasn't surprised at the incident as secret security cameras had not only been found in rental homes overseas, but also now in New Zealand.
"It's not the first incident of it, and I think that for some people they' re just literally not thinking.
"It's like they just want to check and it's just security and this camera was in the kitchen area but even so."
However, in her opinion, hiring it out to a bridal party could be a bit different as the women often took care not to get their dresses dirty or stained prior to going down the aisle.
"You know what a bridal party's like, you all wander round in your underwear until you put your dress on at the last minute because you don't want to spill champagne down it."
She suggested the bridal party and anyone else with concerns contact police. She said they could also lodge a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner and possibly launch a civil prosecution in terms of any potential recording being a breach of their rental confidentiality agreement.
She said if there are security cameras inside the house those renting the property had to made aware.
"It's not to do that in small print, it must be drawn to people's attention and I'm comfortable with that, but I'll tell you now I wouldn't use that place. And it's not that I do anything weird in my lounge or kitchen, it's just that I don't want a camera there.
However, she said there was no onus on the booking agency to do anything about it.
A spokesman for booking.com said they would issue a statement today but added they were "concerned by the experience reported and are investigating fully".
The property owner said he was overseas for two weeks and would consider speaking on his return.
He added that the camera was for security purposes when no one was at the property and had to be activated manually.