TripAdvisor seeks verification after hotel claims false review

TripAdvisor is seeking verification after Howarth House, a hotel in Lytham St Anne, said a review posted on the property was fake.

The consumer reviews giant says its US-based content integrity team is seeking further clarification from the reviewer to ensure the posting has been placed against the correct property.

Tripadvisor adds that a review has been removed from the Howarth House listing pending feedback from the reviewer.

Kwikchex, the online reputation management specialist, is claiming it brought the matter to Tripadvisor’s attention and that this was not the first time Howarth House had ‘come under attack’ on the review site.

The company describes Tripadvisor’s move to seek verification as ‘significant and welcome.’

Operations boss Gemma Byrne says:

“This is exactly what is needed. Contacting posters and asking for verification that they are genuine customers will substantially reduce review fraud and will help protect both consumers and reputable businesses. We have a great many cases we are submitting to Tripadvisor and with the verification processes that they have promised, many can be resolved very quickly.”

However, Tripadvisor says that its policy on review verification has not changed.

In a separate case in which TripAdvisor put a red badge against the Riverside Hotel in Evesham, Kwikchex has confirmed a legal challenge is being mounted after the business was accused of review fraud.

Meanwhile, the review service has declined to comment on a $10 million US lawsuit brought against it by Kenneth Seaton, owner of the Grand Resort Hotel,Tennessee, after it emerged as the dirtiest hotel in the country in Tripadvisor’s top 10 list published in January.

TripAdvisor did say:

“The top 10 list of dirtiest hotels is compiled based on traveller ratings for cleanliness on TripAdvisor.”

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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  1. Tim

    TripAdvisor needs to start monitoring the reviews that get posted much, much better. As a small business that relies on our TripAdvisor page to drive sales, it’s incredibly frustrating that there is no recourse for reviews that are blatantly untrue, if not bordering on fraudulent and libelous.

    TripAdvisor states you can always leave an ‘owners response’ but everyone knows that is not a solution. That does nothing to remove or penalize the fraudulent reviews, and continues to hurt businesses.

    Even worse, I became so frustrated with their lack of response to owners, I attempted to have my business removed from their listings. But, TripAdvisor won’t even remove your business from their listing unless your business is no longer open! Completely insane. I’m sure they are going to be facing legal issues over intellectual property and libel rights.

    Can’t wait to see what happens. It’s completely irresponsible and negligent.

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  8. Lin

    We’ve had such a problem with TA when it allows highly negative reviews that are blatantly unfair. Now, we unfortunately have had a couple of claims that were true – and we did not dispute them but apologized and promised to learn. Serious problems should be highlighted. But we’ve had a couple of cases where TA allowed complaints from people who were NOT even clients. No contract; No deposit. And we’ve since learned that beyond the simple reviews that generate TA rankings, we now find out that if a company promotes TA on its website with content and buttons, they could be boosted to a higher rating. We know of a tour company that gets super ranking from TA and they are breaking the law by failing to pay payroll taxes and workers comp., The rating is not pure in the sense that the website has been lured by TA to make changes. Still our great clients push through the clutter to find us and yes – we will to continue to make mistakes – but we hope we get better every day. Hey, even SubHub can listen before a con succeeds.

  9. Phil

    Even though most people reckon they are good at spotting fakes, recent research by Cornell University suggests that people score no better than pure chance when trying to spot fake reviews. .

    Number of reviews posted is not a very good guide, either. Most of our B&B’s reviews are by one-off reviewers simply because they had never heard of TripAdvisor before they looked at our website and they aren’t regular TA users.

    Who has the time to analyse reviews, anyway? Life’s too short.


  10. Night Eagle

    TripAdvisor allows users to post pictures. I would encourage readers to look up Grand Resort Hotel,Tennessee on the site. Just don’t eat anything when you do.

  11. Tami

    I find Trip Advisor very useful. With a little bit of common sense, one can filter out “suspect” reviews, whether by the hotel staff or impossible-to-satisfy travelers. Does the review sound realistic? How many reviews has this user written? What were they for? – and other filters along those lines. TA adds value for many travelers and I hope there’s a reasonable way to work out the hotel concerns without killing what the site has to offer. Bad hotels should not be able to silence critics, they have an opportunity to respond directly to the review, “confronting” their accusers. I personally have experienced bait & switch and flat-out deception on several occasions when booking directly with hotels, so some of them are not blameless- they simply don’t like their dirty laundry being aired for other potential victims.

  12. Phil

    Too true, Amelia – until recently one of the top listed restaurants in our nearest major town (which is off the beaten USA tourist trail in south-eastern Normandy so places get relatively few reviews) was actually a bakery!


    • Amelia

      That’s the kind of inaccuracy that bothers me most! You can easily look beyond the crazy reviews or hotelier responses but I thought the point of Trip Advisor was to make travel decision-making easier. And if it’s riddled with factual errors and you have to research your research, why bother?
      The other thing that bothers me which I didn’t mention in the earlier post are the reviews which mention individual employees negatively by name. That’s dirty since they don’t personally have right of reply.

  13. Amelia

    After working for several hotels which rank very well on Trip Advisor, I would still not ever trust the site for making personal travel decisions. It’s pretty common for staff to write glowing reviews mentioning themselves, disgruntled customers have written crazy tales (Phil – I’ve seen some Man Booker prize winning works of fiction!) and well-intentioned reviewers make basic errors eg listing incorrect number of restaurants onsite or that the gym shuts at midnight when it’s actually 24hrs etc (maybe the non-English speaking housekeepers came in at midnight to tidy up which confused that particular guest?).

    I don’t even trust the aggregate score anymore because I know how much it’s rigged by individual staff members (the disgruntled one that got fired, the suck-ups wanting a promotion), even if the management and ownership are using it ethically.

  14. Phil

    If TripAdvisor has removed this review pending feedback from the reviewer, then its policy HAS changed.

    It never used to remove fake reviews while they were being investigated, as I found out when it happened to me (an owner’s story: ).

    Two fake, malicious reviews were there at the top of my listing for weeks until TripAdvisor finally conceded that they were fakes. So removing this one while they “investigate” is a change of policy.



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