Travel News » October 2010 » TripAdvisor could face legal action over alleged false hotel reviews

TripAdvisor could face legal action over alleged false hotel reviews


TripAdvisor is an online travel review site that gives people the chance to leave hotel reviews about accommodation located all over the world. For many travellers, TripAdvisor gives them the chance to research accommodation and read hotel reviews to help them decide where to stay.

Anyone can leave hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, but some hoteliers claim that fake or misleading reviews are having a detrimental effect on their businesses. Before TripAdvisor existed, some hoteliers experienced a roaring trade. Now thanks to bad hotel reviews on the site, they're considering closing their doors due to poor business.

Around 700 hoteliers are considering seeking legal action against TripAdvisor for the detrimental effect the website has had on their businesses.

One hotel owner was accused of racism for a completely innocent act. When a man of Indian origin asked if there was any room at the inn, she had to turn him away because the hotel was full. However, the man thought she was turning him away due to the colour of his skin, which he explained in a review on TripAdvisor. The hotelier called the police and suggested that the review could have broken the law by wrongly inciting racism.

Some hotel reviews appear wildly over the top on TripAdvisor. While some reviewers leave nice reviews for certain hotels, others suggest the establishments are dirtier than sewage works. Having such wildly different reviews for the same hotel raised suspicions.

Some believe that the bad reviews could have been left by rival hoteliers or overly malicious patrons.

A spokeswoman for TripAdvisor defended the website: ‘We believe our more than 35m reviews and opinions are authentic and honest from real travellers, which is why we enjoy tremendous user loyalty and growth. If the reviews people read didn't paint an accurate picture users would not keep coming back.'

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