Pichet owner threatens legal action over TripAdvisor review

Thu, Feb 21, 2013, 00:00

The travel website TripAdvisor has said it adopts a “zero tolerance policy” on fraudulent reviews, following protests by Nick Munier over a review of his Dublin restaurant Pichet on the site.

The reviewer, known only as TST2, claimed Mr Munier, a judge on Masterchef Ireland, had been rude to a party of eight which had turned up 10 minutes late. He had looked at his watch in a disapproving manner, the reviewer claimed, adding: “He’d do well to polish his client skills and prance less around the room like a celebrity.”

Mr Munier said he was not in the restaurant on the night in question, did not wear a watch and would not speak to customers in such a manner.

He tweeted: “I wish to inform the a**ehole who wrote a personal attack on me on Trip-Advisor that I will be seeking legal action if it is not taken down.” Mr Munier said he had contacted TripAdvisor by email but was told it would take 10 days to get his complaint actioned “by which time the damage will be done”. He later deleted the tweet and apologised for sending it.

Pichet, located in Trinity Street near the centre of Dublin, is a bistro-style restaurant which has been praised by many reviewers and guidebooks, both for its food and its comparatively modest prices.

TripAdvisor spokeswoman Hayley Coleman said the website took unfair reviews seriously. She said those who felt a review went beyond fair criticism and was fraudulent should contact the online management centre at tripadvisor.co.uk/ownersor call 0044- 203-3185019.

Content integrity

“We have a team of content integrity specialists that investigates in detail every report of suspicious content. If a review is found to be in breach of our guidelines, it will be removed from the site,” she said.

“We allow businesses to respond to any review with a management response that appears directly below the review. We strongly encourage business owners to take advantage of this feature. Nothing is more important to us than the authenticity of our reviews.”

The services industry takes TripAdvisor seriously, but last year the Irish Hotels Federation welcomed a ruling published by the British Advertising Standards Authority which prohibited it from claiming or even implying the hotel reviews it carried were “honest, real or trusted”.

The federation also called on all travel review websites to create “safeguards to ensure reviews posted online are transparent and independent” so consumers could make informed decisions when booking accommodation.