Italian Government Opens TripAdvisor Investigation Over Fake Reviews

By Paul Riegler on 26 May 2014
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The Colosseum, in Rome

The Colosseum, in Rome

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, Italy’s antitrust regulator, announced an investigation last week into TripAdvisor’s trade practices concerning how it handles potentially fake reviews posted on its site.

The regulatory agency said it had decided to begin proceedings for “unfair trade practices” against TripAdvisor to determine whether the online travel site needs to do more to prevent the posting of phony reviews.  The move came after the agency received numerous reports of bogus reviews from consumers, owners of hotels, restaurants, and other tourist venues, as well as the Unione Nazionale Consumatori, the country’s oldest consumer protection association.

TripAdvisor said it cannot comment on pending investigations.

The agency also announced an investigation of Expedia and, saying that their agreements with hotels may prevent consumers from getting a better deal elsewhere.

Separately, a hotel in Lincoln City, Oregon sued an anonymous TripAdvisor poster for defamation.

The review, which has since been taken down, said that “laundry and housekeeping are either high or drunk” at the Ashley Inn, and that “breakfast is nasty, the rooms are nasty,” according to the suit.  The reviewer also wrote that “the owner smokes weed,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that the person who posted the review, using the name “12Kelly,” misrepresented that he or she had stayed at the inn in March.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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