Tuesday, 13 January 2015

TripAdvisor fined in Italy for publishing fake reviews

ITALY'S competition watchdog has fined travel website TripAdvisor €500,000 (£392,000) for publishing misleading information in its reviews, the Daily Telegraph reports. The fine follows an investigation by the regulator into whether the website takes appropriate measures to avoid publishing false opinions while presenting them as genuine.

The regulator said the company and its Italian arm should stop ‘publishing misleading information about the sources of its reviews’, adding that the practice started in 2011

TripAdvisor said it would appeal against the ruling. ‘Our systems and procedures are extremely efficient in protecting consumers from a small minority of people who try to con our system,’ it said. ‘We firmly believe that TripAdvisor is a force for good, both for consumers and the hospitality industry.

The authority gave TripAdvisor 90 days to respond, saying its move was aimed at ensuring consumers do not make decisions based on information that does not correspond to reality.

Italian hoteliers welcomed the decision, citing numerous examples of ‘defamatory’ reviews that have appeared on the site.

TripAdvisor was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain in 2011 and 2012 following claims that many of its hotel reviews are fake. The website subsequently scrapped its ‘reviews you can trust’ slogan and stopped claiming that its reviews are from ‘real’ travellers.

Despite the elaborate systems it says are in place to detect fraudulent reviews, some have slipped through the net. Last year, a senior executive at one of the world’s biggest hotel groups admitted breaching rules by posting dozens of glowing reviews about the company’s properties – and negative ones of its rivals. The reviews were removed only the Daily Telegraph contacted TripAdvisor. 

The website's fraud detection systems also failed to prevent a non-existent business becoming one of the most highly-rated restaurants in the seaside town of Brixham in 2013.

Go Holiday news : www.govillasandcottages.co.uk

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