Class Action Lawsuit and Government Scrutiny Of Travel Reviews

Two new issues are adding fuel to the fire surrounding rampant travel review fraud, and may help bring the matter to a head, sooner than later.

1.  Yelp Class Action lawsuit.

Yelp became the subject of a class action lawsuit this week in a filing that asserts that the company used extortion by demanding monthly payments (in the form of  “advertising contracts”) in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews.  This has been widely alleged and reported before.

2.  Europe may see new laws governing TripAdvisor and other review sites.

The British Hotel Association and others are talking with the European Union about strengthening laws governing review sites.  Hoteliers, at the least, want sites to implement verification that a person at least stayed in the hotel they are reviewing. This appears to be a matter that the EU is taking seriously.

At the same time, Travel Weekly is reporting that  the American Hotel & Lodging Association conducted a recent poll asking its readers if they believe such travel review standards are necessary. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed responded that the current system makes it too easy for competitors to unfairly tarnish or destroy a hotel’s reputation.

As a travel consumer, do you believe that travel review standards have become necessary?

(Beat of Hawaii is written as a labor of love; there are no advertisers and we’re 100 percent volunteer. Some posts, like the one you’re reading today, are “beyond Hawaii.”  Instead it’s a travel topic of interest to us and one we hope helps make each of us more informed travel consumers.)

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