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FTC Investigates TripAdvisor for Potential Ethics Violations

TripAdvisor appears to be under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for allegations of dishonest business practices.

Have you ever left a not-so-flattering TripAdvisor review, only to go back later and be completely unable to find it? Travelers to some resorts in Mexico appear to be dealing with just this problem. Following the break of news earlier this year that tourists were getting assaulted at some specific Mexican resorts, potentially because of drugged alcohol, travelers who left reviews for those resorts outlining their experiences noticed them disappearing from the TripAdvisor site. One victim even tried to leave a review detailing her sexual assault multiple times, and each time it was deleted. Reasons given for the deletions include that the reviews are against the family-friendly policy of the site, they’re hearsay, or they’re somehow unrelated to the topic at hand.

Now, the Federal Trade Commission is stepping in to investigate the issue. If TripAdvisor is, in fact, deleting negative reviews, it constitutes dishonest business practices that put potential travelers at risk of getting assaulted themselves. So far, the investigation is mostly under wraps, with no details on when more information or findings will be released to the public.

The company has since issued a statement apologizing to the rape victim for deleting her review, citing restrictive policies about language usage on the site. It has since been republished. TripAdvisor also says it’s working on new ways to keep travelers safe, such as including a type of badge on a lodging profile that’s been deemed dangerous or risky. Moderators on the site are receiving extra training for situations when these reviews do arise, as well.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Mama December 3, 2017

Can the author of this article please tell us which Mexican resort it is?

kkua December 1, 2017

TripAdvisor is becoming another travel booking portal. They have lost their focus on their primary raison d'etre why it was founded. My experience cited a property in St. Marteen where I showed pictures of unsafe fire hazards, exposed electrical wires, bed bugs, and improper plumbing.... only to be taken down 3 times. They have cited me with inappropriate contents.

The_Bouncer December 1, 2017

If deleting unfavourable reviews is considered unacceptable, then certain major hotel chains seriously need to be investigated too.

Brendan December 1, 2017

I've also noticed that TripAdvisor often shows rooms & rates available via HotelQuickly.com, Getaroom.com, &or otel.com-- but none available via Priceline, hotels.com, Orbitz, etc. I've Googled the former sites & found many complaints by customers who booked, then phoned the hotel, which said they had NO reservation! This leads me to conclude that they're selling either non-existent rooms &or gambling that rooms will become available later on.