Police are investigating claims of abuse by six bed and breakfast operators following their appearance on a TV programme, Four in a Bed.
One of the owners who appeared in the Channel 4 series claims to have been sent excrement through the post, according to a report in trade journal Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
Others are seeking legal advice, claiming their properties have received fake reviews on TripAdvisor, along with abusive emails, phone calls and letters.
In the reality TV show, B&B owners take turns to stay in each other's properties then give them a rating. In a formula similar to Come Dine with Me, the B&B owners go out to impress but sometimes end up with negative publicity.
Even singer Charlotte Church's parents, who run a B&B in Cardiff, were almost reduced to tears by the harsh criticism of fellow participants when they appeared on the show in 2011.
Chris Emmins, founder of online reputation management company Kwikchex, is now calling on the programme's producers to make sure that participants understand the risks involved in taking part in the programme.
And he said members of the public who had placed fake reviews on TripAdvisor out of spite for the B&B owners could face criminal charges.
TripAdvisor agreed fake reviews were a violation of UK law and promised that any found to be fraudulent would be removed from the website.
"If an owner feels they've been subjected to an unfair review - regardless of the situation - we ask that they contact us immediately, either through our online management centre or by calling our free UK help centre," it said.
"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."
To read advice from Kwikchex on appearing in TV reality shows, or what to do if your businesses has been the victim of fake reviews or abuse, read here.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013