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American expat charged with defamation after leaving multiple negative reviews online


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American expat charged with defamation after leaving multiple negative reviews online

 

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Koh Chang, file photo

 

An American expat is being sued by a resort in Koh Chang after leaving negative reviews online.

 

According to AFP, Wesley Barnes wrote a number of reviews on TripAdvisor and other websites about the Sea View Resort.

 

The resort then filed a complaint with local police claiming the reviews did "damage to the reputation of the hotel".

 

The negative reviews centred around an argument Mr Barnes was alleged to have had with staff over the payment of a corkage fee for alcohol he had brought to the hotel from outside. 

 

Mr Barnes was later arrested and may face up to two years in jail due to Thailand’s strict laws on defamation. 

 

The resort said they only took action after Mr Barnes posted multiple negative reviews on different sites over several weeks.

 

In a statement, the hotel said they are not suing Mr Barnes for “just a single bad review” and accused the American of fabricating stories and posting comments that “could mislead readers to associate our property with the Coronavirus”.

 

The resort said that Mr Barnes made the comments with “obvious defamatory intentions”. 

 

"We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future," the hotel told AFP.

 

Mr Barnes now faces up to 2 years in jail and/or a fine of up to 200,000 baht.

 

The full statement from the hotel regarding the matter was shared by blogger Richard Barrow on Saturday and can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VZCwyULmkLpZ7y5nT5wsaX0mn8waPd4H/view

 

 

UPDATE

 

Mr Barnes also issued a statement regarding the matter:

 

 

 

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-09-26
 
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8 minutes ago, ThailandRyan said:

Only in Thailand could this happen. No cease and desist orders necessary or blocking him and having the posts removed.  Not like tbe rest of the world.

you want to live in the rest of the world so badly, I think you have plenty of choices... 

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would like to hear the reviewer's version of events.   But if the hotel's timeline of events are accurate, then I could understand why they at least wanted to talk to him.

 

I suspect if these reviews were to be updated and/or removed, and perhaps an agreement to not go to anymore hotel/restaurants owned by the same entity, then the suit would be settled/dropped instantly.

 

Kind of sad that it took a lawsuit for the offender to respond to the hotel's request for comment.

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7 minutes ago, Jack Hna said:

That's one hell of a corkage charge now. That leo from 711 just became one of the most expensive beers ever. 

appx $17 USD .  It is to discourage people from bringing in outside drinks to their restaurant.   Of course you could probably consume it in the hotel room (or anywhere outside of that particular restaurant) without any problems.

 

Just go to a different restaurant if it really bothers you.

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3 minutes ago, Tropicalevo said:

For goodness sake. Taking outside alcohol into a restaurant anywhere in the world is a no no unless you ask for permission.

Saying that the same restaurant had staff as slaves without any proof is equally a no-no.   If he had just said the cork fee sucks, there wouldn't have been a problem.   

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19 minutes ago, Pilotman said:

sounds a bit like a vindictive vendetta by him, rather than just posting a negative review on Trip Advisor. Sounds like he may have brought it on himself.  

I disagree. If the guy has a genuine issue then he has the right to publish it on all media outlets and sites to tell others of his issue. After all not everybody will go to all the sites of every hotel to find his review and therefore get a false impression.

 

The only issue the hotel can possibly take up is having him post multiple reviews about the same hotel under different names on the same sites. That I would agree with as being defamtion. Otherwise they are fair game in my opinion to a review of the person feeling aggrieved on all review sites.

 

Your viewpoint is he could only complain on the BBC rather than ITV, Channel 4, 5 ABC, FOX - which is inappropriate in my opinion

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Little bit advice to any business in any sector: don’t have your customers imprisoned. It isn’t a good look. 
 

People leave bad reviews. This is life. Explain why the review is wrong or at least try to settle it with the guest. This has now just made it much worse for the hotel. 
 

And before people say it’s the law or the police did it, etc, once you go to the police to file charges for someone writing bad reviews, you can safely assume they’ll be arrested if the case is accepted. That’s how filing complaints with the police works. 

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It seems like this neanderthal has never heard of corkage before and assumed he was being ripped off 🙄

 

He should stick to the spit and sawdust bars where they will throw your ass out on the street for bringing your own drink in.

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5 minutes ago, rkidlad said:

Little bit advice to any business in any sector: don’t have your customers imprisoned. It isn’t a good look. 
 

People leave bad reviews. This is life. Explain why the review is wrong or at least try to settle it with the guest. This has now just made it much worse for the hotel. 
 

And before people say it’s the law or the police did it, etc, once you go to the police to file charges for someone writing bad reviews, you can safely assume they’ll be arrested if the case is accepted. That’s how filing complaints with the police works. 

I think they were correct to have this guy arrested, he attempted to destroy their reputation based on his own ignorance at a time when business is already bad and ignored all attempts at contact.

 

I've met people like this guy before and believe me, I've considered having them arrested but I've refrained so far.

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38 minutes ago, Damual Travesty said:

Well, this is going to really help kick off the rapid return of tourists to Thailand.

It seems that this event happened in July 2020 which means he's on amnesty if he's not on other visas.

 

I just went to Tripadvisor and looked at recent comments, it's all negative, did he have a few friends who created multiple accounts just to bad-mouthed that resort?

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g580110-d594766-Reviews-Sea_View_Resort_Spa_Koh_Chang-Ko_Chang_Trat_Province.html#REVIEWS

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I doubt the resort is bad as the recent comments said, I might go there for a holiday if the rate is good.

 

The manager's response seems like he's a matured guy.

 

Has anybody here been there before?

 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, CorpusChristie said:

Fully deserved , using websites to attack a resort, all because they wouldnt let him beer from 7/11 in 

 

He not pay "bedsheet" money!

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31 minutes ago, jak2002003 said:

So if we have a bad experience at a hotel and we leave a negative review about it....we can be done for defamation and be a criminal? 

No, it really depends on whose fault it is, if it is the hotel's fault, then they have no right to sue you.

 

But in this case, it's might be the guest's fault, so it is defamation.

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17 minutes ago, ukrules said:

I think they were correct to have this guy arrested, he attempted to destroy their reputation based on his own ignorance at a time when business is already bad and ignored all attempts at contact.

 

I've met people like this guy before and believe me, I've considered having them arrested but I've refrained so far.

Well, if they thought business was bad before, they’re in for a nasty surprise with this regressive behaviour. 
 

People don’t like this sort of thing and quite rightfully so. 

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Just now, EricTh said:

No, it really depends on whose fault it is, if it is the hotel's fault, then they have no right to sue you.

 

But in this case, it's obvious it was the guest fault, so it is defamation.

People aren’t supposed to be arrested for leaving bad reviews. If they wanna sue, this is a civil case. Locking people up for leaving a bad review is moronic. The fact that you can kill people here and not spend a single day in jail makes even more moronic. 

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How do TripAdvisor reviews work as the ‘guest’ claims that his first review with the human slavery allegation was never published yet the resort have a screenshot of it in their statement - do hotels get to vet reviews before publication?

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