TripAdvisor adds warning for users. ‘reviewing hotel’ negatively ‘might get sued’
TripAdvisor warns its users to be careful in the wake of the famous hotel at Koh Chang sue for defamation to foreign tourists who leave a negative review of the hotel. The review comment was posted after a dispute over the corkage fee for BYO alcohol drink at the hotel’s restaurant.
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It is worth noting since TripAdvisor then issued a warning to its users on the page of Sea View Resort, states that: “This Hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user in relation to the traveler writing and posting online reviews. The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, and the reviewer may spend time in jail as a result. However, it is TripAdvisor’s role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”. This is the first time for TripAdvisor to warn its users in this manner.
From the New York Times report, the warning issue grew out of a dispute over the user reviews of Mr. Wesley Barnes, an American tourist and an expat in Thailand, who visited the Sea View Resort at Koh Chang, Trad province, and left a complaint on TripAdvisor after a dispute with the hotel’s staff over a corkage fee for BYO alcohol drink. As a result, Mr. Wesley Barnes was sued by the hotel for defamation, which could lead to two-year sentences in prison. He was also held in custody by the official for two days in last September before a negotiation and issuing a letter of apology to the hotel for the incident.
TripAdvisor insists that travelers are free to share their opinions and experiences on the platform in both positive and negative. The company strongly opposes any action where a business is trying to use local law to send someone to jail for expressing their opinion. New York Times further reported that “the Sea View Resort Hotel said it was deeply disappointed with TripAdvisor’s action and asserted that the warning message from TripAdvisor is extremely misleading and lacks complete information.”. Moreover, after the negative review, the hotel‘s business is critically affected, causing the booking cancellation and complaints of their staff performance.