Skip to comments.TripAdvisor: can users be sued for bad reviews?
Posted on 09/12/2013 5:37:47 AM PDT by markomalley
In April this year, Canadian Laurent Azoulay stayed at the Hotel Quebec, in Quebec City, with his son. He alleged he was bitten by bed bugs and claimed to have recorded video evidence of this, and to have collected bed bugs to show staff.
He wrote about his experience in a scathing review on the TripAdvisor website, giving the hotel a one star rating out of five. The hotel asked for the review to be removed and has now launched defamation proceedings which are expected to be heard in Quebecs Superior Court later this year. It is reportedly seeking $95,000 (£60,000) in damages.
While a similar case has yet to be heard in Britain, Adam Tudor, a partner at Carter Ruck, a leading firm of libel lawyers, said it is always possible that a UK hotel, or a member of staff, could also choose to bring claim against a user.
A reviewer would have a complete defence however, as long as he or she can show that what was said was substantially true, or that they were merely expressing an honest opinion based on facts which existed at the time.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
This is a shame. I have used tripadvisor and other sites like it when making travel plans. Who in their right mind is going to post a negative review of a place knowing that they might get sued for it? Even if you win the suit, the time and money spent defending yourself make it not worth posting a review to help out a fellow traveller.
I have read some really AWFUL reviews on Tripadvisor for places and attractions that I visit year after year, and LOVE. It’s very weird!
Then again, words are very important!
“Rustic”, “Bucolic”, “Retro”, “Old Fashioned”, “Challenging” and “Adventurous” are positive words.
“Inadequate”, “Hokey”, “Outmoded”, “Old”,”Scary” and “Dangerous” are negative words for the exact same conditions!
And let’s not forget that “Charming, and Cozy” can mean “Outdated and Cramped”! LOL.
The truth is an ultimate defense against libel laws
You cant sue someone for telling the truth
I always look for rebuttals from management to the crappy stories.
You have to take the reviews on their average. If there are two hundred reviews, with a good average—you have a good place.
I think destinations should likewise be sued if they allow false positive reviews to remin online...
Wrong. They CAN sue, but if facts are in defendant’s favor, suit likely to fail.
If sued in Texas and maybe a few other states, and defendant wins, plaintiff pays for their defense. Since passed that is reported to cut way back on BS lawsuits.
You are right. I always look at the overall trend. There will always be the outliers - the people who bi@ch and moan about every little thing. Then there are the ones so effusive you’re pretty sure that’s the owners brother. If most of the recent reviews are reasonably good or bad, that’s a pretty good indicator.
It seems fair that if hyperbole or outright lies can figure in advertising for a hotel or restaurant, personal experiences should be permitted without fear of being sued. We all seen the photoshopped pictures of fast food hamburgers that simply don’t exist in real life and the beautiful uncrowded beaches at resorts that in reality are filled trash and tourists. Fair is fair, but it isn’t the law, sadly.
WRONG, and this action is the source of the term "Slapp" (strategic lawsuit against public participation). It generally does not matters about the winning of a lawsuit in this case, it is designed to intimidate and silence the opponent.
In a proper legal system, the judiciary guards against this tactic by sanctioning and fining both the attorney and his client. Also in other systems where "loser pays" is in effect, that keeps a lid on such shenanigans.
Only in the US.
In some locations, saying *anything* that “bothers” is against the law. In some locations, “self-image” is a protected human right (at least as long as it’s liberal).
I kid you not.
Post something like "I was considering posting a review, but will not do so until XXX posts a notice that they will not sue people who express their opinions".
Get a few reviews like that, and it would be worse than an open complaint about bugs.
Also, some HORRIBLE reviews of my apartment complex turn out to be those that have been written by people who are being evicted for non-payment of the rent! LOL!
In the US. In other countries, it's different. In the UK for example:
Libel laws in the United States and Britain are almost mirror images. In the United States, the person bringing the case has to prove not only that what was reported was false, but also that the publisher was at fault. In Britain, the burden falls the other way. The published statements are presumed to be false, and to win, the defendant has to prove that what was said is true.Canadian law appears to be more like Brit law than US law.
This is an almost impossible burden for newspapers and publishers to meet, particularly when the assertions involve serious claims and the plaintiffs are rich. Famous foreign litigants in the past have included the flamboyant entertainer Liberace, who sued The Daily Mirror and won after it reported that he was gay, and the Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky, who successfully sued Forbes magazine here over allegations about underworld connections.
It is impossible to prove a negative
Britain has it right- you should be forced to prove your statement is true.
If you make an allegation you better have proof.
AND if you are telling the truth and are sued, you should win and the loser pays the court costs.
That is the only fair system
About six months ago I read a story about someone who posted false negative comment about contractor on Yelp. Contractor filed lawsuit for defamation against a person who posted negative review. I think something like $ 700000.00.Not sure about the outcome of the case.
I would be interested in knowing the outcome of that.
There are only two kinds of internet reviews... negative reviews written by people who had a bad experience and FAKE REVIEWS written by the company, the company’s employees, a hired reputation management firm etc. to counter the negative reviews.
Legitimate positive reviews are exceedingly rare comparatively speaking. Customers are much more likely to express gratitude in the form of a tip or a hand written note directly to the person from whom they had a good interaction than they are to post praise online somewhere that person is likely to never see it.
I have done Amazon reviews when I liked a book
Perhaps...but on my recent trip to Hawaii, my best friend and traveling companion had a massive heart attack in my arms in a helicopter.
I wrote wonderful reviews of the Helicopter Company, the EMTs, the Hilo Medical center, The Visitors Aloha Society, and all the places I wandered into after my friend’s death, as EVERYBODY treated me like visiting royalty.
That’s definitely cool...but it is not the norm.
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