ASA brands TripAdvisor claims ‘misleading’

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TripAdvisor has been told it cannot claim all of its reviews are written by real travellers, following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

 

ASA concluded that the sites’ claim that all reviews on the travel site are genuine is ‘misleading’. TripAdvisor and similar review sites have come under fire from many sections of the hospitality industry, which have asserted that many of the reviews are made up by competitors and that guests attempt to blackmail hotels, threatening bad reviews unless discounts are given. The complainants said they understood that TripAdvisor did not verify the reviews and therefore could not prove that they were genuine or from real travellers, despite claims on the site that claim “read reviews from real travellers”.

 

The ASA upheld the complaint and said that consumers would take the claims on the website to mean they could be certain the reviews posted were from genuine travellers. It said that, as reviews could be placed on the site without verification, it was possible that non-genuine reviews could go undetected.

 

TripAdvisor said it used fraud detection systems and dedicated substantial resources to identifying and minimising any non-genuine content.

 

Despite this, the company added it wasn’t practical to screen every review manually.

 

TripAdvisor said reviewers were asked to sign a declaration that their review was genuine and honest but the ASA asserted that this did not prevent non-genuine reviews from being posted.

 

TripAdvisor has been told it cannot claim all of its reviews are written by real travellers, following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA concluded that the sites claims that all reviews on the travel site are genuine were ‘misleading’. TripAdvisor and similar review sites have come under fire from many sections of the hospitality industry, which have asserted that many of the reviews are made up by competitors and that guests attempt to blackmail hotels, threatening bad reviews unless discounts are given. The complainants said they understood that TripAdvisor did not verify the reviews and therefore could not prove that they were genuine or from real travellers, despite claims on the site that claim “read reviews from real travellers”.

 

The ASA upheld the complaint and said that consumers would take the claims on the website to mean they could be certain the reviews posted were from genuine travellers. It said that, as reviews could be placed on the site without verification, it was possible that non-genuine reviews could go undetected.

 

TripAdvisor said it used fraud detection systems and dedicated substantial resources to identifying and minimising any non-genuine content.

 

Despite this, the company added it wasn’t practical to screen every review manually.

 

TripAdvisor said reviewers were asked to sign a declaration that their review was genuine and honest but the ASA asserted that this did not prevent non-genuine reviews from being posted.

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