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B&B owner wins landmark victory over TripAdvisor



A bed and breakfast owner in the Outer Hebrides has won a landmark legal victory against review website TripAdvisor.


Richard Gollin, 64, launched a small claims action at Stornoway Sheriff Court over what he says are 'false and malicious' criticisms of his guesthouse in Lewis, which the site refused to take down after being posted by its users, reports the Daily Mail.


He claimed that negative comments posted cost him valuable bookings of around £2,000.


Until now, TripAdvisor, which is based in the US, has denied it was subject to UK laws and could therefore not be sued.


It previously challenged the jurisdiction of the Scottish court claiming the firm is outside the remit of the Scottish legal system because it is based in Massachusetts.


But Mr Gollin's lawyer, Duncan Burd, won a concession from the firm which has agreed it can be sued in Scotland.


However, TripAdvisor won its request to hear the action in a higher court which would require Mr Gollin to hire a lawyer and be exposed to limitless expenses.


The bed and breakfast owner has appealed and it is expected to be heard in Stornoway in two months.


If it goes ahead, it is believed the case will pivot on the legal interpretation of TripAdvisor's website terms and under the basis of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.


The case could see subsequent legal action against the site as any decision could be cited in cases outside Scotland.


A spokesman for TripAdvisor said: " We understand the importance that the reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor have to properties and businesses listed on the site.


"It's our top priority to ensure the content we feature is authentic and we dedicate significant time and resources to that end, including a host of over 25 sophisticated filters, a team of detectives, and our community of over 56 million users who help us police reviews.


"If an owner feels they've been subjected to an unfair review, we urge them to contact us immediately. 


"We value the insights of the business owners as well as travellers and both are given an equal opportunity to speak to the TripAdvisor community."

Friday, October 12, 2012



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  • FALSE REPORTS ABOUND

    LATELY OUR HOTEL HAS HAD 3 EMAILS FROM 3 DIFFERENT SOURCES PROMISING TO GIVE US 5 STAR REVIEWS TO BOOST OUR POSITION ON TRIPADVISOR. NOT THAT WE HAVE TAKEN THEM UP AND I HAVE SENT TRIPADVISOR THE DETAILS. ONE CAN ASSUME THEN THAT ITS JUST AS EASY TO GET PEOPLE TO POST BAD REPORTS, MAYBE FROM COMPETITORS. GO RICHARD GOLLIN ! GO THE REVOLUTION!!

    By Alex Fitzpatrick, Sunday, October 21, 2012

  • Baile-na-Cille 1986

    In May 1986, when I was 5 months pregnant with my first child, my husband-to-be and I spent a wonderful, idyllic time at Richard Gollin's guesthouse. In those pre-internet days, I had selected the place purely on the basis of its appearance and location, trusting my extremely sensitive researcher's 'nose'. We were not disappointed. As we did not drive and were planning a cycling holiday, Mr Gollin organised the bicycles, collected us from Stornoway port, and gave us the run of his considerable library of local topography. He and his wife treated all of the guests as friends, feeding us enormous, unlimited breakfasts which kept us full up until late afternoon. (just as well, in such an isolated spot) The dinners were also generous, with all the guests seated at one long dining table. In those days the place was unlicensed, so can't comment on the price of wine! A beautiful memory that I will cherish forever.

    By Diana , Friday, October 19, 2012

  • TA, works of fiction

    And about time too, TA has a big problem they can't ignore if they want to survive, if you can't trust the reviews anymore then their existance is pointless. TA has been abused for years and for them to claim all this security is laughable

    By Keith Standen, Saturday, October 13, 2012

  • They Have Always Been Devious

    Years ago when they had just started they asked me to put links on my site to them saying that they were totally independent and were not in competition with me. I pointed out that they had affilliate links to Expedia, TravelNow etc. and were therefore getting commission by diverting bookings from a hotel's own site to one of the companies they were affiliated to. They never spoke to me again and I warned others who put the Trip Advisor logo on their site that they were supping with the devil. Too late everyone seems to be cottoning on.

    By Martin Drew, Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Bully Boy Tactics

    Typical behaviour by TripAdvisor, they try to hide behind the fact that they are an American company, however, they are operating in the UK, and should be subject to UK laws over libel. I have had many malicious reviews for my two restaurants, Porters English Restaurant and Covent Garden Grill, in London, and have requested proof from TripAdvisor that the reviewers have actually eaten there, a request that is routinely ignored. Particularly strange are the reviews from people, apparently based in London, that have written very general, non-specific reviews, but none for any other London restaurants, and, in one case, he can't even remember when he ate at Porters or what they had to eat.

    By Richard Earl of Bradford, Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Excellent result

    It is an indictment of Tripadvisors cynical disregard for users of the website that they fail to accept the law of the countries where they live. They have .UK website, they own British-based companies, and they have even bought out a few UK websites. So why shouldn't they accept a judgement like this? Furthermore, I think it's a victory for the hard working little guy over the money-grabbing conglomerate. Well done the Gollins!

    By Gary Phillips, Friday, October 12, 2012

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