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False and malicious reviews

Juan Griego...
posts: 82
reviews: 1
False and malicious reviews

Hello. I am the manager of Hotel Patrick in Juan Griego in Margarita. We have just been the victims of an entirely bogus and nasty review of our accommodation. It appears to have been written by a prostitute who we threw out of the hotel along with her client - a German guest who was perpetually drunk and who we subsequentally discovered was smoking crack on the beach with some local low-lifes. Their revenge for being asked to get out of our happy little family posada was to leave a really nasty and untrue review on Trip Advisor. I have written a response to the review which I am waiting for TA to publish. I have also written to TA asking them to investigate and to remove this review. I feel really angry that someone would wilfully to damage our good name and good reputation. I am also becoming aware that these review sites are entirely open to abuse by someone who has an axe to grind for one reason or another. So I would recommend to all readers that you bear this in mind, and don't believe everything you read, even on the internet!!!

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Margarita Island
posts: 712
reviews: 7
1. Re: False and malicious reviews

It appears the review is gone.

It seems to be quite common for people to post bogus or exaggarated misleading reviews/posts just to punish a place they had a problem with or a person associated with it. The place could be a restaurant, hotel, island or country. Unfortunately some people read everything on the net at face value. Its because of the misleading posters that I became a regular poster. Making sure people get accuarate information is important. If I believed every word I've read on boards like this I would have missed out on many fine destinations. One of those places turned out to be one of my best vacations ever!

Bottom Line: Be wary of what you read.

Juan Griego...
posts: 82
reviews: 1
2. Re: False and malicious reviews

Hi. Nope, I´m afraid it´s still there. It´s in Spanish, allegedly from a Venezuelan guest. Funny enough, the only Venezuelan we had here the whole of the month in question was the "adopted grandmother" of my daughter. I have written to TA to tell them this, and offered to send them our regsitry for the month. I am waiting for Trip Advisor to investigate and, I hope, remove the offending "review". You can see from the fact that this person has left no reviews of any other place and only signed on to Trip Advisor recently - seemingly to leave this feedback and nothing else - that there is something fishy about it.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Margarita Island
posts: 712
reviews: 7
3. Re: False and malicious reviews

Found it! Since there are dozens of positive reviews for the hotel its very easy to ignore a couple negative ones. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Besides, the people those reviews will chase off will most likely be people you don't want to deal with anyways.

If its any consolation I became interested in your hotel earlier this year and will most likely stay there during my next visit to the island. Those negative reviews do absolutely nothing to change my opinion since all the positive ones paint quite a different.

pointe aux sables
posts: 1
reviews: 1
4. Re: False and malicious reviews

Why cant Trip Advisor remove an untrue story made up by some fellows to ruin the image of hotels/restaurant be removed?

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Margarita Island
posts: 712
reviews: 7
5. Re: False and malicious reviews

Unless the reviews in question are outrageous I can't see how Trip Advisor can justify deleting reviews. Many reviews that exist on the internet show signs of exaggaration or outright dishonesty but it must be up to us, the readers, to recognize and comment on the inaccuracies in order to alert others. This is true of trips, products, services, etc.. There is an element out there that thrives on exaggarations and dishonesty.

There use to be an option of being able to flag a review as "Not Helpful" which I used to flag reviews which I knew to contain inaccurate information. Too bad they took it away.

Porlamar, Venezuela
posts: 122
6. Re: False and malicious reviews

Mig-Admin is right. Besides, how is Trip Advisor supposed to know what is false and what isn't? Every recipient of a bad review would want theirs removed. This is a tool to be used, among others, including common sense. One person's opinion is just that.

Margarita Island
Destination Expert
for Margarita Island
posts: 1,768
7. Re: False and malicious reviews

The owner of the property has the right to respond to any review, good or bad.

Any time we have a unreasonable guest who puts exaggerations or outright lies on our TA site we respond.

Keep in mind that you can never please everyone 100% of the time & I view with great reserve places that have only 5 star reviews.

Many people, especially during busy times like Christmas & New Year's, choose places not because they want to but because it's the only thing left.

If you want the Hilton & end up at a posada because you left your reservation too late you are probably not going to be happy with your stay.

Edited: 7:42 am, January 03, 2012
Juan Griego...
posts: 82
reviews: 1
8. Re: False and malicious reviews

Hi. I started this thread. The problem with malicious reviews is that they are designed to negatively affect the business and livelihood of the victim. It seems that the owner of the property (in this case, me) has little real power to fight back. I have two times left a management response to the review in question on this website, and twice these have been removed by Trip Advisor because they "did not follow management guidelines" (no specific examples given to me about where I infringed these). I have emailed Trip Advisor 5 times. I got 4 automated replies and finally one from a Trip Advisor email address in Spain telling me that they would investigate the review in question and get back to me within 7 days (that was about 4 weeks ago). They also directed me to a page on the TA website where I could write a specific complaint if I believed that I was being slandered or libelled. I did this, and threatened further legal action if they took no action within 10 days. Again no response from TA. I finally found a phone number on their UK site for customer services. When I called this, the customer services advisor told me that she could not directly contact the Review Investigation section of TA. She promised to email them then get back to me with more information. That was a couple of weeks ago. As I said in my original post, the "review" was written by someone who DID NOT stay in my posada but had a motive to try and hurt my business. The reason why I posted on this forum is that I have had no other option availavble to me to defend my business. I have offered to provide my register to Trip Advisor so that they can see for themselves that this person was not a bona fide customer of my posada and so should have no right to post a "review" of it here. If this kind of unfair and malicious comment is acceptable, then what is the purpose of Trip Advisor? Why should all owners (or their friends) not leave false reviews damaging each others´ businesses? We at my posada have worked very hard to earn our top ranking, although we really are just a very small family hotel, and in no sense in the slightest can we offer luxury to guests looking for "big hotel standards at small hotel prices". We do offer personal attention, good information and advice about life and travel in Venezuela, help with organizing a whole array of things, and a decent measure of rum in our bar in the evening. Many people seem happy with us. There is nothing suspicious about well-earned praise (you shouyld be able to spot the false from the real), but surely there is something odd about a single voice shouting "wolf" when all the oethers are saying "sheep". Don´t believe all that you read on this or other review sites.

Porlamar
posts: 57
9. Re: False and malicious reviews

I think you should let it die. I think you are doing yourself more of a dis-service for yourself and hotel by the way you are reacting.

Juan Griego...
posts: 82
reviews: 1
10. Re: False and malicious reviews

OK Rodort, I appreciate your point. But the issue for me now has become how Trip Advisor functions and how it responds to these kind of problems. I have become aware through internet research that TA has generated a lot of negative publicity for itself over how it deals with false and malicious reviews. Call me stubborn or even old-fashioned but I happen to believe in in doing business fairly and honestly. The immediate aftermath of the publication of the comments in question was that we had - over the course of the following week - 5 different cancellations from Spanish-speaking potential customers: 1 cancellation per month would be unusual for us, never mind 5, so evidently people had read this "review" and decided to go elsewhere. This represented a lot of lost money for a small business like mine. So these things cannot be lightly dismissed. There is another point related to the method that TA uses to make its ratings. Until we received this bogus review we were rated the NO.1 hotel in Venezuela: please note, ONLY IN TERMS OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION (not luxury, facilities, shiny silky sheets etc, just happy people). With this one bad review, it means that our "happiness average" has been severely effected. Example: if 9 customers each give you 100%, then your average is of course 100%. If the next customer gives you 10%, your average drops to 91%. It takes a lot of good reviews to compensate for one extremely poor one, and to build up your average again near previous levels. So intend to pursue the matter with TA as far as I can. However you are right in that I have said enough here and so I won´t be posting any more about the case on this forum. As I said on my previous posting, it was the only space that TA had left open for me to address the issue, and I know from the comments of many of my guests over Xmas and the New Year that they have found the situation interesting. So with that, I wish you and all other posters, users and service providers on Trip Advisor (and of course the staff of TA themselves) a peaceful and prosperous 2012.

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