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Guest has libelled me

I have been given a review where the guest has claimed I tried to deliberately short change him on a motorcycle hire. I have a contract he has signed which shows the review is wrong but booking.com has allowed it. The issue is that I am in Thailand which has some of the strictest libel laws in the world. In theory if I followed it through the guest is liable for up to 7 years in jail for libelling someone's business and booking.com is liable for an enormous fine and other penalties for allowing their website to be used for libelous activity. I know I am talking extremes but to me it does make me question the legality of the review system where a customer can libel your business with no evidence.

7 Replies

7
Katerinka12

Hi Cherry,

Is your guest foreigner? Is he out of the country now? What exactly did he write that you think it's libel?

I know that Thailand has strictest rules in the world against libel, but...
1) going to court in Thailand is expensive
2) filing a libel case will bring too much attention. Negative attention (did she do something wrong that now she needs to fight it?). While review will just disappear and many people will not read it, especially Thai

Why don't we think of a powerful response? Did you reply to review?

Just sharing my experience... Majority of people will not leave review on Booking (and even Airbnb). Especially if the experience was positive. It seems to me, that you are taking it deep to the heart. While it just words, as air, as nothing to another person.

I have been treating those reviews so seriously until... I started to reply just saying the truth. I mentioned in my reply that the guest left so much garbage... Complained about parking, when he should ask us for it! We are not magicians, just tell us.

And you know, people started to book like crazy after honest, truthful responses. No robot responses, but from a real person, who knows what is right and what is wrong.

Booking will not remove the review in 99,99% cases. But finding a right response could be a positive solution to you. Let's think together how to make a good response.

4 months ago
1
Cherry Hunt

Thanks Katerina. I don't usually worry about reviews because operate at 100% occupancy for our 6 month season but in this case he said I was deliberately dishonest. I am surprised that booking.com allows a personal attack on the honesty of a host with no evidence at all. It is one thing saying my rooms aren't great but another saying I am a thief in writing. My post was really about the role of booking.com. The law does says that, not only is the person who writes defaming comments accountable for them – but so is any website, webmaster or anyone else considered an “intermediary” of the information who does nothing to report it or remove it. It does put booking.com in the situation where they are assisting and aiding in an illegal act.

4 months ago
7
fluff

Very much agree with Katerinka12 on this and I am also Thailand based.

We have once played the "defamation" card with an online company that was falsely publishing misinformation about us. They ignored all warnings from us but soon as a solicitor's letter "hit the mat" they quickly backed off. I would not, however, recommend this approach with a guest review.

With any bad review it is best to cool off for a couple of days and then give a carefully considered reply that apolagises/corrects facts/profers your side. It must leave you looking good in a readers eyes. (get someone unattached to your biz to proof read if necessary)

4 months ago
1
Cherry Hunt

Hi. I have already replied to the review but am more interested in the role of booking.com than the behaviour of the guest. I still question though" Is it ethical for booking.com to allow illegal behaviour on their site?" Anywhere else on the world a company cannot be held responsible for the actions of their clients but in Thailand they can. I have no intention of waging any legal battles but do believe the review system is completely flawed.

4 months ago
7
fluff

I would say that is a very grey area for the following reasons;

BDC is based outside of Thailand as are their servers.

The guest most likely posted the review outside of Thailand.

This leaves your only grounds of complaint as an opinion cast online by a third, private party that is visible in Thailand.Trying to weigh Thai law against international law is most likely a lost cause.

Ethical, probably not. Anything you can do about, again probably not.

Have a cup of something that helps you chill out and move on...

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Honesty of the host 😂😂😂 how honest is honest😁

"Guest reviews are subjective opinions of a guest’s experience after staying at a property."

"deliberately dishonest." - I honestly don't know what does that mean. It tells me nothing at all.

But calling you a thief is bad idea. That's why you should write to Booking and receive their formal reply. If you don't write them, they will never be able to remove it.

Something like this:

Dear Booking,

I have received a review (date, person, screenshot).

The person called me a "thief" with no evidence at all. I am hereby demanding to remove this discriminatory review, because the word "thief" is both abusive and discriminatory.

Your guidelines say:

"When the review includes abusive language, swearing, discriminatory remarks, threats of violence, and political or religious commentary."

I am waiting for your soonest action and explanation.

4 months ago
1
Cherry Hunt

Hi. Thanks for all the comments. Have replied to the review and written to booking.com.

4 months ago