300 hotels join potential defamation lawsuit against TripAdvisor

POOLE, ENGLAND More than 300 hotels have expressed interest in pursuing legal action against TripAdvisor, accusing the user-generated review site of defamation.

The effort is being organized by KwikChex, a UK-based company specializing in online reputation management. KwikChex CEO Chris Emmins tells that more than 300 hoteliers from the UK, the United States and elsewhere have paid the £35 preliminary fee to join the action against TripAdvisor.

KwikChex is gathering hoteliers’ grievances against TripAdvisor and investigating them. The company plans to submit to TripAdvisor a sampling of the most egregious examples of “legally unsubstantiated” user reviews with the goal of correcting and improving the site’s oversight mechanisms. The filing of dual lawsuits in the UK and United States is being weighed as an option as well.

Among the complaints against TripAdvisor, as spelled out in an open letter from KwikChex:

  • “TripAdvisor claims that they are not responsible for user generated content – but claims ownership of all posts.”
  • “TripAdvisor has singled out businesses and directly advised consumers not to trust them – even when the majority of their own posters recommend these businesses.”
  • “TripAdvisor overstates the level of trust that can be placed in an individual review on their site. They are thus directly seeking to influence consumer opinion.”
  • “TripAdvisor has failed to take appropriate action when offered evidence of falsehoods – thus removing their blanket disclaimer defence.”

Representatives from TripAdvisor, which is a subsidiary of Expedia Inc., say it is against policy to comment on pending or threatened litigation.