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TripAdvisor slaps warning on Thailand's 'Sea View Resort & Spa' review page


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TripAdvisor slaps warning on Thailand's 'Sea View Resort & Spa' review page
By The Thaiger

 

TA-Koh-Chang.jpg

 

Be careful if you want to trash a Thai hotel in the land of fragile egos who use the handy tools of eager lawyers and draconian libel laws.

 

Now TripAdvisor, the review website everyone loves to hate, is warning potential travellers to a particular Thai hotel that they could face severe consequences for sharing negative opinions about their experience.

 

One visitor, Wesley Barnes from the US, was arrested after he waxed lyrical in his opinions about poor service at the particular establishment. Mr. Barnes was freed and eventually apologised in a settlement between him and the hotel. But TripAdvisor slapped this notice on the hotel’s listing…

 

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Just in case you are warming up your fingers for a quick critique, this listing for the Sea View Resort & Spa in Koh Chang now includes a blatant warning.

 

“The reviewer spent time in jail as a result.”

 

Management at the hotel made an official complaint to the local police about the critique at the time. Mr. Barnes’ review strayed somewhat from the usual commentary about dirty bathrooms and cold soup to include “modern day slavery”. The resort’s management claimed that it had first tried to reach Mr. Barnes directly to “resolve the matter”, but took legal action because other reviews had been posted across different platforms, a few weeks apart.

 

At the time he was facing 2 years in a Thai prison after posting his negative online reviews about the Sea View Resort & Spa. Barnes, who works in Thailand, reported that he was arrested at the time by immigration police and that his passport had been confiscated until the matter was resolved.

 

Mr. Barnes stayed at the resort in June and had a disagreement with restaurant staff who tried to charge a corkage fee for alcohol he had brought on to the premises. He also added later that he felt the hotel’s management “were aggressive”.

 

Koh Chang police confirmed that an official complaint had been filed and that Mr. Barnes was accused of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel”, and of bickering with staff about the corkage fee.

 

After weeks of media attention, local and international, and 1000s of online comments over the matter, the resort agreed to drop the police complaint if Mr. Barnes apologised and could convinced TripAdvisor not to display a “red badge” on the hotel’s TripAdvisor listing, which “could harm its business”.

 

The hotel’s use of Thailand’s notoriously tough libel and defamation laws rattled TripAdvisor, which now displays a clear warning about negative reviews that could land you in jail as a result of criminal charges filed by the hotel’s management.

 

“The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, however, it is our role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”

 

The hotel has issued a statement accusing Tripadvisor of breaking its part of the settlement that was reached with Wesley Barnes.

 

“We fail to understand how Tripadvisor going back on their word, and not being impartial, is helpful to any of the parties involved in this case,” the resort’s manager responded in a statement to the NY Times.

 

By the way, if you want to visit the Sea View Resort and Spa Koh Chang in the middle of December, we randomly chose a date on Bookings.com and found a room for 2,900 baht a night. Have a great time, but don’t argue about the corkage!

 

Source: https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/tourism/tripadvisor-slaps-warning-on-thailands-sea-view-resort-spa-review-page

 

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-- © Copyright The Thaiger 2020-11-12
 
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cannot really fault TA at all here
they must warn their users of the consequences of leaving a negative review
especially when there is evidence they could face legal action from specific hotel owners or management, whilst on holiday or travelling
most people are not generally clued up on many laws in the foreign countries they visit.

the hotel in question did really shoot themselves in the foot on this occasion
it will likely be a very costly lesson for them

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Great idea. Warn of this specific hotel and how you may go to jail for writing bad reviews about them. Let’s see how many people wanna go somewhere where you (the customer) has to be careful and be on your best behavior. 

Som. Num. Na. 

 

 


 

 

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The guy didnt write a honest review though , he wrote numerous false allegations because he got charged corkage on alcohol be bought into the hotel from outside .

   The American guy waged a campaign against the hotel because he got upset about not being allowed to bring in beer from 7/11 .

   Unfair on the hotel for Trip advisor to issue a warning , when the American guy wrote false reviews 

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Fantastic. I liked trip advisor already. Their courage and conviction to post this warning endears me to them even more now! The resort amply deserves that, and I truly hope they succumb to the war of attrition currently devastating the nation. They richly deserve that. It is likely their attitude, and their vindictiveness is not a one off occurrence. 

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9 minutes ago, CorpusChristie said:

The guy didnt write a honest review though , he wrote numerous false allegations because he got charged corkage on alcohol be bought into the hotel from outside .

   The American guy waged a campaign against the hotel because he got upset about not being allowed to bring in beer from 7/11 .

   Unfair on the hotel for Trip advisor to issue a warning , when the American guy wrote false reviews 

Bottle of Vodka

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Great News Trip Advisor!
They have a duty to warn the public and Tourists they risk going to Jail for writing a negative reviews not just for this Hotel but in Thailand.
Other travel Forums need to follow suit.
Thailand can keep it's draconian laws but have to accept the consequences too.
 

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1 minute ago, DirtyHarry55 said:

Great News Trip Advisor!
They have a duty to warn the public and Tourists they risk going to Jail for writing a negative reviews not just for this Hotel but in Thailand.
Other travel Forums need to follow suit.
Thailand can keep it's draconian laws but have to accept the consequences too.
 

 

   Many Countries have slander laws .

The American guy didnt get charged for writing a negative review, he got charged with lying about the hotel and writing false reviews 

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In this situation if TA failed to inform future guest of what happened at this hotel and another guest ended up in jail, would TA be opened to being sued? Tricky!

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Was it worth it, Sea View, getting the guy to grovel and apologize? Guess you won, huh? Like the scene from W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, where the owner of a gas station brags to the highway patrol that nobody got away with stealing his money--as his gas station burns and explodes in the background.

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Why not just de-list the hotel from the platform and problem solved once and for all?

 

The headline is misleading though - it implies that the resort itself has been warned about it's past behavior

 

 

 

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Dumb comments as usual without knowing what happened. The reviewer acted like an idiot in the hotel, started a massive slander campaign (not 1 bad review which wasn't even the truth). Had a criminal record by threatening staff with a gun in the USA who had problems with his attitude.  

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I once got threatened by a hotel in Rome, nothing came of it. Most people in the world are aware of the possibility of civil complications, but also most people would be astounded by the possibility of criminal charges, so Trip Advisor is just doing its job.

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7 minutes ago, varun said:

Why not just de-list the hotel from the platform and problem solved once and for all?

 

The headline is misleading though - it implies that the resort itself has been warned about it's past behavior

 

 

 

They dont seem to do that they can put  Red Flag on the profile which TA agreed not to, so cannot go against what they agreed to do. this way is warning people what did happen to a guest at this hotel.

Same Same but Different.........?

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11 minutes ago, FritsSikkink said:

Dumb comments as usual without knowing what happened. The reviewer acted like an idiot in the hotel, started a massive slander campaign (not 1 bad review which wasn't even the truth). Had a criminal record by threatening staff with a gun in the USA who had problems with his attitude.  

And made repeated post

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Trip Advisor was not a party to the settlement so it didn't break any agreement. Wesley Barnes was asked to persuade Trip Advisor not to make any negative comments. Trip Advisor has a duty of care to its customers to warn them that this particular hotel tried to jail one of its customers for writing a vindictive review. The hotel shot itself in the foot. 

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1 minute ago, JusticeGB said:

Trip Advisor was not a party to the settlement so it didn't break any agreement. Wesley Barnes was asked to persuade Trip Advisor not to make any negative comments. Trip Advisor has a duty of care to its customers to warn them that this particular hotel tried to jail one of its customers for writing a negative review. The hotel shot itself in the foot. 

Not for a negative review, for a full on slander campaign.

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1 hour ago, patman30 said:

cannot really fault TA at all here
they must warn their users of the consequences of leaving a negative review
especially when there is evidence they could face legal action from specific hotel owners or management, whilst on holiday or travelling
most people are not generally clued up on many laws in the foreign countries they visit.

the hotel in question did really shoot themselves in the foot on this occasion
it will likely be a very costly lesson for them

 

It should be a generic warning placed on all thailand places that advertise on their website... rather than singling out the seaview resort.

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36 minutes ago, CorpusChristie said:

The guy didnt write a honest review though , he wrote numerous false allegations because he got charged corkage on alcohol be bought into the hotel from outside .

   The American guy waged a campaign against the hotel because he got upset about not being allowed to bring in beer from 7/11 .

   Unfair on the hotel for Trip advisor to issue a warning , when the American guy wrote false reviews 

 

No winners here. The guy shouldn't have done what he did and write a false review. The hotel should have appealed with TripAdvisor for removal of the review and not launched legal proceedings until TripAdvisor refused to remove the review. Now TripAdvisor have added the notice to the front of the hotel's listing. Only losers all around.

 

I feel the best way for TripAdvisor to have notified potential guests and reviewers of Thai hotels regarding the issue of defamation would have been to put a generic pop-up over all Thai hotel (or restaurant) listings - without naming this hotel. This notice should warn about possible actions if false and unsubstantiated reviews are posted.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, soi3eddie said:

 

No winners here. The guy shouldn't have done what he did and write a false review. The hotel should have appealed with TripAdvisor for removal of the review and not launched legal proceedings until TripAdvisor refused to remove the review. Now TripAdvisor have added the notice to the front of the hotel's listing. Only losers all around.

 

I feel the best way for TripAdvisor to have notified potential guests and reviewers of Thai hotels regarding the issue of defamation would have been to put a generic pop-up over all Thai hotel (or restaurant) listings - without naming this hotel. This notice should warn about possible actions if false and unsubstantiated reviews are posted.

 

 

TA did remove the review when this story first came out I was following it, and I did look on TA site and also did look through a lot of their other reviews but that one had gone when I looked

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Not sure why some of you guys haven't noticed that this resort has plenty of other negative reviews, but only about 4% of its total. they're not going around getting everyone thrown in jail and they didn't want this guy thrown in jail. He was a bad apple with an ego of a Yank and he had been drinking. He threatened to write reviews and he wrote several, and the resort tried to reach out to him first, worried that he wouldn't stop.

 

But while there's no such thing as bad publicity, I am sure the resort and the Yank regret every moment of this whole affair. Let's hope that we can all learn from it.

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1 minute ago, 2long said:

Not sure why some of you guys haven't noticed that this resort has plenty of other negative reviews, but only about 4% of its total. they're not going around getting everyone thrown in jail and they didn't want this guy thrown in jail. He was a bad apple with an ego of a Yank and he had been drinking. He threatened to write reviews and he wrote several, and the resort tried to reach out to him first, worried that he wouldn't stop.

 

But while there's no such thing as bad publicity, I am sure the resort and the Yank regret every moment of this whole affair. Let's hope that we can all learn from it.

Maybe the other bad reviewers had already left Thailand

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16 minutes ago, soi3eddie said:

 

No winners here. The guy shouldn't have done what he did and write a false review. The hotel should have appealed with TripAdvisor for removal of the review and not launched legal proceedings until TripAdvisor refused to remove the review. Now TripAdvisor have added the notice to the front of the hotel's listing. Only losers all around.

 

I feel the best way for TripAdvisor to have notified potential guests and reviewers of Thai hotels regarding the issue of defamation would have been to put a generic pop-up over all Thai hotel (or restaurant) listings - without naming this hotel. This notice should warn about possible actions if false and unsubstantiated reviews are posted.

 

 

"This notice should warn about possible actions if false and unsubstantiated reviews are posted". The trouble is that they will use the law against someone even when the they are telling the truth as can be seen in Thailand regularly, you cannot simply tell the truth about a business/person in Thailand without facing legal action. This is a hard one as the reviewer did add BS to his review but the hotel went overboard by having him jailed when they could have settled it without all the drama, TA has done the right thing letting people know the hotel will use the law if they dont like a review, maybe they should have added that the reviewer did exagerate some of his review but they should still let people know the hotel will and can do the same thing again if they dont like the review. I have left negative reviews on thai hotels(it was the truth) etc in TA in the past with no come back so far but warnings should be made on all the reviewing sites when a thai business does have people jailed etc for giving negative reviews

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