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January 17, 2018

Reporting Potential Blackmail to Tripadvisor: Report Threats Immediately

We hear from owners that potential “blackmail” — when a guest threatens to write a negative review unless a demand for a refund, upgrade, or other request is met — is an occasional concern. We have a way for you to proactively report these threats before a corresponding review is potentially submitted.

Why is this important?

We take allegations of blackmail or threatening behavior by guests against property owners very seriously. This activity is strictly against our guidelines and may also be illegal in many locations. Immediate reporting of blackmail threats can supplement our investigative procedure and help us keep blackmail reviews from ever reaching the site.

How do I report potential blackmail reviews?

Follow this process to report blackmail from the Management Center:

  1. First, log into your Tripadvisor Management Center.
  2. In the top menu under “Reviews,” click “Report a Review.”
  3. In the “Please tell us what the issue is” section, select “Report fraud.”
  4. “What do you want to do?” menu, select “Report blackmail threat.”
  5. If the review hasn’t been posted, choose “No.” (Read on for what to do if the review has already been posted).
  6. Then, if this is your first report of this incident, choose “No.”
  7. At this point, you’ll need to provide some additional information, including the month and year of stay as well as the email address and/or the name of the potential reviewer. Please also describe the event at issue in the free form space provided. Try to provide as many details as possible — this information will help us identify the review if it’s submitted at a later date.

When should I report a case of blackmail?

Immediately — it’s important to submit this report via the Management Center as soon as possible after the incident occurs, ideally the same day.

While most guests do not follow through with such threats, it’s important to submit your report as soon as possible to ensure that it is on record before a potential blackmail review is submitted.

What should I do if a suspected blackmail review has already been posted?

It’s important to note that our owner support form only works for reviews that have not yet been submitted. It will also only be effective if the information in the review matches what you’ve included in your blackmail report.

You can follow the current process if a review is posted that you believe is blackmail-related:

  1. In your Management Center, under the “Reviews” menu at the top, select “Report a Review.”
  2. Select “Review Concerns” as the issue.
  3. Select”Review is suspicious” as the problem.
  4. For reason, select “I want to report something else.”
  5. Then, choose the review in question from the drop down menu.
  6. In the space provided, you can present the facts or documents that show the review is a result of blackmail.

What happens after my blackmail report is submitted?

If a low-rated review matching the details of your report is submitted on your business, our support team will be alerted. We handle each blackmail report on a case-by-case basis, and review the direct evidence and peripheral information available to us before making a decision. You may be contacted for additional information that proves blackmail was involved. We recommend retaining any relevant documentation that might be useful in this process. 

Whether the review is submitted before or after you notify us of the blackmail threat, we cannot guarantee that it will be removed.

Please note: Property managers who abuse this new tool will be penalized.

What other actions can I take?

While the review is being investigated, we recommend you post a Management Response so other travelers can read what you have to say. Check out our tips on how to write a Management Response. It’s also a good idea to regularly review our most up to date Management Response Guidelines.

Best practices for submitting potential blackmail reports to Tripadvisor:

  • Instruct employees to share any guest blackmail threats immediately
  • Submit a potential blackmail review report as soon as possible.
  • Include as many details as you can about the incident.

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