An Italian regulator has fined TripAdvisor $600,000 for improper business practices and allowing false property reviews on the website.
On Monday, the antitrust authority in Italy slammed TripAdvisor with a $600,000 fine for poor business practices. The fine was the result of a consumer protection agency and national hoteliers group complaint. The Federalberghi Federation of Hoteliers claimed that TripAdvisor does not have adequate controls in place to stop false reviews, which makes the site’s promotions as authentic and genuine content unethical.
TripAdvisor has been given 90 days to rectify the situation, although the company plans to appeal the antitrust authority’s findings. According to TripAdvisor, the company currently has a team in place to detect fraudulent reviewers, as well as automated tools that seek to prevent false reviews. TripAdvisor believes this current system is extremely effective and catches what it considers to be the “small minority of people” trying to cheat the system.
The Federalberghi Federation is pleased with the outcome of the complaint, and backed up their concerns by providing multiple defamatory reviews currently on the website as evidence. The group has represented hoteliers in Italy for than 100 years and takes a vested interest in the economic and social issues tourism entrepreneurs run into on a daily basis.
This is not the first time TripAdvisor has come under fire for this same issue. One U.K. regulator previously tackled the British version of the site, stating that the company should stop promoting all the British reviews as written by reliable independent travelers.