The TripAdvisor website lets people post make-or-break reviews about restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions worldwide– but cafe owner Peter Guinness rates it ‘terrible’ for handling disputes.
The boss of Scarlett Rose Cafe in Bamford was distraught when three negative reviews of his place popped up on the site, each one containing inaccuracies, he claims.
Between them they were enough to knock the establishment off its coveted number one spot among 67 restaurants in the Hope Valley.
That was bad enough after he and his wife Wendy had slaved 12 hours a day, seven days a week since they took over last November. But what really hurt was TripAdvisor’s refusal to take them down.
“After all our hard work, the feeling of injustice is immense,” he said.
The offending messages included:
n FredB put a ‘terrible’ review which mentioned staff dropping ice cream on the floor and scooping it back into the cornet before giving it to him. Peter says they don’t sell cornets, only ice cream in bowls.
n GeorgeS put a ‘poor’ review saying he was ill for two days after eating a mouldy sausage sandwich. Peter says no one complained.
n GreenpGate claims the coffee shop was being painted and he found a caterpillar in a salad roll. But Peter says they haven’t painted anything for months and they don’t sell salad rolls.
He added: “They all joined within days of each other. I believe they are trolls, people who write deliberately provocative messages for the hell of it.”
But when he complained to TripAdvisor he received emails back which all stated: ‘We have completed our preliminary investigation into your concern and have found that the review in question complies with our submission guidelines, and will remain published on TripAdvisor.’ That’s when Peter turned to Action Desk.
TripAdvisor has gone on a short journey of its own– called a U-turn.
Spokesman James Kay said: “We investigated these reviews fully, and based on the findings of our investigations we concluded that they did not meet our guidelines and have therefore subsequently been removed from the site.
“We would always encourage users and business owners to report any reviews they feel don’t meet our stated guidelines or consider suspicious and we will always investigate.”
And Scarlett Rose Cafe is back to number 1!