TripAdvisor user apologises for false reviews
Published 16/02/2012 | 07:54
A WOMAN who posted dozens of false online reviews of vegetarian restaurant The Good Life has been forced to apologise after receiving a police caution, it has been reported.
Helen Griffiths wrote numerous negative comments on websites such as TripAdvisor in which she claimed staff were cold and inattentive and that there were "hairs in my quiche".
The remarks were the result of a personal grudge following a legal dispute with the restaurant’s owner, Joanna Langfield, 40, a former partner of Ms Griffith’s husband.
In an apology published on the London Times’ announcements page, Ms Griffiths, a marketing manager from Salford, admitted “misrepresenting the quality of the food and service of the restaurant which, from other reviews and nominations, does indicate an exemplary track record."
“I made these comments based on absolutely no knowledge of the business, or any of the company’s staff, as I have never actually visited or eaten at the restaurant,” she said.
Ms Langfield told The Times: “It started off quite extreme. Someone posted a review calling me ‘arrogant’ and making other nasty references. TripAdvisor actually took one down.
“One of her last reviews was on a local site, and the chap who ran that was really helpful. The IP (internet protocol) was linked by police to Warrington, which is where Ms Griffiths worked.”
Profits at The Good Life, in Shewsbury, Worcester, slumped by 25 per cent following the negative comments, Ms Langfield said.
And despite several attempts to have the reviews taken down, TripAdvisor, which is based in the US, largely failed to respond to her requests.
“It was a really distressing situation. I felt quite powerless to stop it,” Ms Langfield added.
This month the Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints that TripAdvisor’s claims to offer “trusted advice from real travellers” was misleading.
The company claimed it had “highly effective fraud detection systems” and that the effect of “small numbers of fraudulent reviews was effectively negligible”.
Ms Griffiths could not be contacted.