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Hotels plan to sue TripAdvisor for defamation

05/10/2010

More than 800 hotels and restaurants have signed up with a company that plans to launch a group defamation action against online review website TripAdvisor.

‘Online reputation management’ company Kwikchex.com said its goal was not to attack freedom of speech, but to stop untruthful and malicious accusations being made about its members. Damaging reviews had often been posted by competitors, disgruntled ex-employees and failed interviewees, it added.

It now intends to submit a list of ‘specimen cases’ to TripAdvisor, asking the website to take remedial actions within 14 days and to enter into further discussions regarding improvements and safeguards.

The specimen cases include allegations of criminal behaviour such as racism, theft of property, physical/sexual assault and food poisoning, where no complaints had been made to the proper authorities but which TripAdvisor had failed to remove when notified.

Kwikchex.com claims that TripAdvisor is compounding the damage done to businesses by bad reviews by highlighting them in its own emails with subjects such as ‘Don’t go there – hotel horror stories’ and ‘Rants and raves – the best and worst revealed’.

It also wants reviews removed after 18 months as they are “unlikely to be accurate or of use to consumers”.

Kwikchex.com co-founder Chris Emmins said he hoped to sign up 1,000 businesses to the action, each of which are charged a £170 membership fee.




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