TripAdvisor Plays ‘Dirty’, Gets $10m Lawsuit

In a $10 million lawsuit filed against the online review site earlier this month, the owner of the Grand Resort Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennisee that was dubbed “America’s dirtiest” in TripAdvisor’s latest annual ranking – claims its smudged crown was bestowed unfairly.

TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 dirtiest hotels in the US, released in January, is based on travelers’ cleanliness ratings posted to the site. The Grand earned thumbs down from 87% of more than 200 reviewers.

According to a report in The Mountain Press, the suit contends that TripAdvisor uses “a rating system that is flawed and inconsistent and distorts actual performance and perspective,” and says “TripAdvisor has singled out [Grand Resort] and directly advised customers not to trust them.”

“Our complaint is that (TripAdvisor) went too far. Instead of just reporting what people said, they made a flat-out statement that it was the dirtiest,” the Grand Resort Hotel’s attorney, Sidney Gilreath states.

“Are (the reviews) from guests, or from former employees? We’re going to look behind the curtain to find out,” said Gilreath.

The site has been front and center of a growing controversy over the accuracy of user reviews. While TripAdvisor says it weighs multiple, constantly evolving factors in determining a review’s accuracy and has “zero tolerance” for fakes, critics say it’s too easy for anonymous posters to plant falsely positive or negative critiques.

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