Another Hotel Sues TripAdvisor over “Dirty” List
The owner of the Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Tennessee is suing TripAdvisor for $10 million, alleging that TripAdvisor “maliciously and wrongfully” harmed his business by placing Grand Resort at the top of its “2011 Dirtiest Hotels” list for the USA on the TripAdvisor website.
As is its policy, TripAdvisor is not commenting on this latest lawsuit other than to say “The top 10 list of dirtiest hotels is compiled based on traveler ratings for cleanliness on TripAdvisor.”
In its press release at the time, TripAdvisor said of the Grand Resort
“The unpopular property elicited such hotel review titles as ‘Worst Hotel Stay of My Life,’ ‘Stay Anywhere Else But Here,’ and ‘Absolutely Horrible!’”
The TripAdvisor press release included a review stating:
“if you are looking for a hotel with chewing tobacco spit oozing down the halls and corridors; spiders actively making webs in every corner of your room; carpeting so greasy and dirty you wouldn’t want to sit your luggage down – let alone walk around barefoot…… by all means, stay at The Grand Resort.”
Tripadvisor went on to say:
“For the sixth consecutive year, TripAdvisor is shining a light on those U.S. hotels which have made a mark on their guests for all the wrong reasons. From TripAdvisor’s core, we believe that candid reviews — good, bad and ugly — empower travelers to see it all so they can plan and experience the best possible trips.”
However, as the reviews are anonymous there is no proof that the persons posting these or any other reviews ever visited the hotel, nor were there any checks on the veracity or accuracy of the reviews before the press release was issued.
In the lawsuit the owner’s lawyers argue that the site uses “a rating system which is flawed and inconsistent and distorts actual performance and perspective.” It also accuses TripAdvisor of “maliciously and wrongfully contriving, designing and intending to cause respected customers to lose confidence” in the hotel.
In the U.K. the Advertising Standards Authority and OFT have launched investigations into TripAdvisor’s claims that its reviews can be trusted, and the website has recently removed the slogan “claims you can trust” from its website. It has been suggested that this is an attempt to pre-empt a likely judgment that it has made false advertising claims over the trustworthiness of its reviews.