Tripadvisors, Beware: That No-Star Review Might Get You Sued

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Next time that four-star hotel forgets to put a chocolate on your pillow, take a deep breath before posting that scathing review.

Hundreds of hotels and restaurants in the U.S. and the UK are suing Tripadvisor, the Expedia-owned travel and hotel review site, over reviews the group says are defamatory, reports the Irish Independent.

Why the outrage? A bad review alleging theft or food poisoning could permanently damage a company’s reputation or put them out of business.  If the review is factually incorrect or not a user’s true opinion, the poster could be legally liable for the defamation and the damages under UK libel law.

More than 400 hotels and eateries signed up for a defamation class-action suit against Tripadvisor. If the travel giant ignores the demands for stricter regulation, the group pledges to go after the individual reviewers themselves through tracking their Internet Protocol address, which can be used to force Internet service providers to identify individual computers.

Tripadvisor maintains it does its best to ensure accuracy by using software and many moderators to spot rogue postings.  Every posting allows users to report suspicious views and business owners to respond to criticism or praise.