As reported recently by the BBC, the existing action is against TripAdvisor. Thousands of unfounded, malicious and wholly unproven allegations are on their site which are damaging the reputation of blameless businesses. These include accusations of:
- Food poisoning
- Fraud and theft
The Case Against TripAdvisor
Expert legal advice has been provided that indicates TripAdvisor must take remedial actions or face a class action defamation lawsuit principally, but not solely based on the following. In addition, disclosure of the identity of each defamatory poster will be sought.:
- TripAdvisor claims that they are not responsible for user generated content - but claims ownership of all posts.
- TripAdvisor has taken user generated content and used it for commercial purposes, including making misleading and damaging statements.
- TripAdvisor has singled out businesses and directly advised consumers not to trust them - even when the majority of their own posters recommend these businesses.
- The TripAdvisor ratings system is flawed and inconsistent and distorts actual performance and perspective.
- TripAdvisor overstates the level of trust that can be placed in an individual review on their site. They are thus directly seeking to influence consumer opinion.
- TripAdvisor has failed to take appropriate action when offered evidence of falsehoods - thus removing their blanket disclaimer defence.
- TripAdvisor is consistently not abiding by its stated policies.
In addition, the action will seek the removal of the thousands of posts that:
- Do not qualify as reviews, but are instead offensive insults of no possible value to consumers - but which nevertheless damage reputation and specifically lower the TripAdvisor ratings.
- Are over 2 years old, as they are almost certainly irrelevant - and again can grossly distort ratings, which is also misleading for consumers.
- Advise viewers of the ratings on a property to go to a named competitor instead.