A Lewis guesthouse owner is thought to be the first to sue the global Tripadvisor
internet website in a Scottish court.
Richard Gollin, who runs the six-bedroomed Baile na Cille Guesthouse at the stretching
sands at Uig,is is taking on the might of the international giant travel guide over
a suspected malicious review.
He claims that negative criticism posted about his business is false but Tripadvisor
refuses to remove it.
Mr Gollin has launched a small claims action in Stornoway Sheriff Court and maintains
the website has "hurt business" through lost bookings. He believes the website, which
is the world's largest travel site, is rife with inaccurate or false guest reviews.
He said that a posting was made by a guest who criticised the food and claimed visitors
were underfed. Mr Gollin defended the quality of meals and insisted "our portions
are certainly not small."
He says the writer gave the wrong date when he stayed "to cover his tracks. I believe
that that one lie should disqualify his entry."
"Tripadvisor is in dereliction of duty in failing to have proper supervision" of
what goes on their website. All across the country people should stand up to Tripadvisor."
He says fake reviews create a lot of damage when they attack small guesthouses compared
to a hotel chain because "this is our livelihood - we are just a small B&B."
He took the action over what was "clearly a malicious review for the guest who wanted
to get his own back because he didn’t want to pay his phone bill."
Lewis B&B sues Tripadvisor over “false review” 3/8/12
His wife Joanne, 52, does all the cooking and her meals are always served in "massive
Mr Gollin explained the American reviewer was angry when a "couple of pounds was
added to his bill” after he had been on the phone for two hours.
He slammed trip Advisor for failing to exercise "absolutely no control" on what is
written on their site.
He said: "Anyone can go on the site and within two minutes could post a fake review
about the Ritz Hotel in London, for example, without even being there - they could
just make it up."
Mr Gollin is furious Tripadvisor only allows "200 characters to post an online complaint.
That’s only characters not the number of words."
"I asked them politely three time to remove the review and my solicitor also wrote
them." He says Tripadvisor ignored their complaints.
Mr Gollin claims he has lost bookings as a result and is seeking compensation from
the USA-based online holiday review guide.
The amount of compensation he is seeking has not been disclosed though £3,000 is
the maximum limit under the small claims procedure.
Tripadvisor insists to the court it is not subject to the law in Scotland.
Its legal team from its Massachusetts headquarters in the United States has directly
instructed Stornoway lawyer Angus Macdonald. He is asking Sheriff David Sutherland
to kick the case out of court, claiming it is outwith Scottish jurisdiction.
Mr Gollin’s lawyer Duncan Burd lodged legal defences responding against Tripadvisor
were lodged in court yesterday (thurs) and the case has been continued to a later
Tripadvisor declined to speak about the case.
A spokesperson for the travel website said: "We do not comment on threatened or pending