THE award-winning four-star Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa has threatened legal action against the travel review website TripAdvisor after “untrue” comments were posted on the site.
Des O’Dowd, proprietor of the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in Clonakilty, Co Cork, said the letter was sent after allegedly incorrect information was published on the popular website, which allows the public to post reviews of restaurants and hotels they have visited.
TripAdvisor is also facing a class action in Britain after more than 100 businesses claimed they are being damaged by malicious, inaccurate and defamatory comments.
KwikChex.com, a British-based company which helps firms manage their online reputation, plans to submit several sample grievances to TripAdvisor, including what it says are unverified claims relating to food poisoning, assault, theft, racism and even sexual abuse.
“If TripAdvisor does not respond within 14 days,” KwikChex.com founder Chris Emmins told the Irish Examiner, a group defamation action will commence.
“There has been unwillingness by TripAdvisor to address many unfair and false elements on their review site,” Mr Emmins said.
TripAdvisor is one of the world’s biggest travel websites, with 35 million monthly users checking reviews on hotels and restaurants before deciding where to sleep and eat.
But the platform it offers hotels and restaurants is a double-edged sword.
“TripAdvisor is now every bit as important as official ratings from Fáilte Ireland and the AA,” said Des O’Dowd.
He confirmed the letter had been sent about a month ago but added that he was hopeful the matter would soon be resolved.
“I don’t want to trash TripAdvisor by any means. All I’m saying is that it’s growing very rapidly, and to reflect that, it needs to put resources in place to ensure people can trust its reviews.”
TripAdvisor does not comment on pending or threatened litigation but said it uses algorithms to flag suspect content and moderates “questionable” reviews.
“Occasionally, an inappropriate review may slip through the cracks,” the site said.
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