Thousands of homebuyers using a transportation company have been left in limbo due to a cybersecurity breach.
Premier Property Lawyers (PPL), based in Enderby, Leicestershire, said a “security incident” made some of its systems inaccessible, causing property purchases to be blocked.
Customers complained about the lack of communication and difficulties in contacting the company.
PPL said it was working with IT specialists to restore its IT systems.
Jason Greenwood, a DJ from Redcar, Teesside, said he had already put his things in a van and was waiting to finish when he learned there was trouble at the PPL.
He said he first became suspicious that there might be a problem when he was unable to access the PPL website on Monday night.
“At 08:00 on Tuesday the moving van arrived and we loaded everything into the van, but we couldn’t get hold of the PPL,” he said.
“When they responded to my complaint on Twitter, they said they didn’t have time to move forward.
“All my goods, clothes, everything in the house are in the back of a van and I have ongoing costs with the moving company because their van is still standing and time is running out.”
Mr. Greenwood, 42, said he and his seven-year-old daughter were currently sleeping at his parents’ home.
“It’s extremely stressful. I recently had major surgery to remove a tumor, so on top of that I’m not sleeping or eating due to the stress,” she said.
Another customer Michelle, from Coventry, said her husband Michael went to PPL’s Leicestershire office to see if he could get anywhere.
“There was a sign saying there has been a serious incident and ‘please do not access your computers until you have communication from your manager,'” he told BBC Radio Leicester.
“It was for the staff of course, but it was at the door when he walked in and spoke to the receptionist who was told they are working on it.”
Michelle said they were in a chain with four other people and had planned to swap Monday before moving into their new home next week.
However he claimed that he had not received any communication from PPL.
“Moving is as stressful as it is anyway, but that added is just plain horrendous,” he said.
“We are not sleeping. We live in a house that is ready for next week and we don’t know if we will go.
“My daughter is sleeping on the floor because we got rid of her bed. It’s just a nightmare.”
Adam Graver, 24, and his wife Anna, 29, have just returned from their honeymoon and were due to move into their first home together on Monday.
“I tried to log into the online portal on Monday and the website wasn’t working and that’s how I discovered the problems,” he said.
“We left our hotel on Monday and then we practically had nowhere to go.
“Luckily we were able to move in with my in-laws, which was really helpful, but I’m thinking of those who don’t have that option.”
“Finding alternative solutions”
Premier Property Lawyers, a subsidiary of My Home Move, said they reported the security incident to the relevant authorities and “take steps” to contact customers and partners.
A spokesperson added: “We are working with our third-party IT specialists to restore systems, find ways to support our clients’ real estate transactions, and undertake a thorough investigation to gain a more complete understanding of the incident.
“The current problems relate to the temporary inability to access some of our IT systems, which unfortunately prevented some transactions from completing.
“We are working hard to find further solutions and provide all possible support to our customers and partners in this difficult time.”
An update posted Wednesday on the My Home Move website said the IT systems had been reset and they had “worked all night” to process the backlog of payments.
It said: “We are working around the clock to restore our normal operations as soon as possible.
“This includes carefully putting systems online as part of a secure step-by-step approach and finding workarounds to complete transactions securely.
“We are not fully operational in all areas of the company, but we are positively solving the problem and working day and night to get there.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said they had been contacted by the company.
A spokesperson said: An ICO spokesperson said: “People have a right to expect organizations to handle their personal information in a secure and responsible manner.
“The Move Factory Holdings Limited [the 100% shareholder of Premier Property Lawyers and other related brands] informed us of an incident and we are investigating. “
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