September Song 3-night offer starts tomorrow - and, yes, the weather is ALWAYS better than in August. Rates for the 3-night stay, including dinner on two evenings, scrummy breakfasts each morning and a wonderful food-packed carrier to take away, start at 515.00 per couple. Go to Special Offers on www.crownandcastle.co.uk for full details ... See MoreSee Less
A very interesting newsletter from the Editor of the Good Hotel Guide, it shows how seldom TripAdvisor will intervene on a hotelier's behalf – even when the guests' claims are patently outrageous. We ourselves were once accused of having levied a £50 service charge on a 1-night stay. Even when we sent both TA and the guest a copy of the bill, which clearly showed the amount was for wine and drinks (and the service charge only £11), TA still wouldn't remove the posting. Neither did the guest.
From Adam Raphael, Good Hotel Guide Editor ‘ The impunity with which TripAdvisor [TA] allows its website to be used as a forum for publishing defamatory comments by guests about hotels they dislike, but which often have little basis in fact, is shameful. As an instrument for extortion by guests who threaten to post an adverse review if their demand for compensation is not met, it is easy money because most hotels will pay up to avoid reputational damage.
Exaggerated? A typical GHG rant? Please read on. Mr Mitesh Sheth, who describes himself as a financial controller, stayed for two nights with his fiancé at DANNAH FARM earlier this year. A small, simple B&B on a working farm near Belper, Derbyshire, it is liked by GHG readers, which is why it has a shortlist entry in both our print and web editions.
Mr Sheth, however, did not enjoy himself and emailed a long list of complaints, ranging from racism to voyeurism a few days after his stay, none of which he had complained about while at Dannah though he was frequently asked whether everything was ok. His email ended with a threat: ‘I will review your retreat on TripAdvisor as I am sure that it would inform others what to truly expect.’
His criticisms were promptly responded to with courtesy and in great detail by Dannah Farm’s owners, Joan and Martin Slack, who offered a £99 refund. That fell short of the £285 that Mr Sheth was demanding. He appeared, however, to have accepted this compromise: ‘Please refund the £99 to my card as offered. Let’s draw a line under this. I wish you and Martin the best of luck in your future at Dannah.’
A few days later, however, Mr Sheth posted a review on TripAdvisor accusing Dannah Farm’s owners of being ‘racist, ignorant perverts’. This was taken down after the Slacks protested. However, it was soon replaced by another review, again written by Mr Sheth, which alleged amongst other things that they were ‘racist' 'voyeurs’ and that they 'employed illegal child labour'. The only fact quoted for the allegation of racism was that he and his fiancé had been asked whether they wanted a vegetarian breakfast. ‘How offensive. Just because me and my girlfriend are Asian, you assume we are vegetarian.’ The allegation of voyeurism was based on the fact that a tractor driven by Martin Slack, had gone past while Mr Sheth and his fiancé had been taking a hot tub.
Mr and Mrs Slack were now advised by their insurance company to issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter to stop these defamatory statements being repeated. Mr Sheth replied saying that he was prepared to discuss an out-of-court settlement which would involve Dannah Farm paying him £736 in addition to the £99 compensation it had already paid, in return for which he would remove his review. TripAdvisor now weighed into the row warning Dannah Farm that because they were pressuring reviewers to remove adverse comments, a penalty had been issued to its listing. ‘Please discontinue any attempts to subvert our system immediately,' wrote TA’s hilariously named 'Content Integrity Support Team'.
Mr and Mrs Slack don’t have either the time or resources to sue Mr Sheth or force TA to see reason. But help may be at hand. The Competition and Markets Authority is conducting a review of the practices of online review websites. It certainly should look at TripAdvisor, which routinely publishes defamatory comments about hotels and B&Bs, often written by anonymous reviewers, secure in the knowledge that as a US based company, it cannot be sued in the British courts.
Arwel RichardsI've come across similar incidents with friends getting grief from dodgy TA reviews.Unfortunately many holidaymakers/travellers will believe the reviews on TA and vote with their feet. Yes, regulation might be a very good idea.3 weeks ago
Rachel McGilldouble crikey, I stayed there, it is fab.3 weeks ago · 1
Julie HuntAt last, TA might get regulated, not before time.3 weeks ago · 1
Your 2-night August package is available throughout the month, weekends included, and comprises:
- 2 nights’ comfortable accommodation - a 3-course a la carte dinner on both nights - full English breakfast each morning - and, to take home on checkout, a breakfast carrier filled with a bottle of High House Farm apple juice, a jar of Wendy Brandon’s dark marmalade, a pack of Pinney’s smoked salmon, a box of Maple Farm organic eggs and a voucher for a Pump Street Bakery loaf *
July 3-night Orfordness A-go-go includes free entrance to the Ness and a simple picnic, 3 nights accommodation, a 3-course a la carte dinner on two evenings (with free choice) and our wonderful breakfast every morning. Rates from £545 per couple for the package – check it out on our Special Offers page ... See MoreSee Less
To encourage you to vote for the Crown and Castle, rather than one of the homogenous political parties currently sullying our screens and airwaves, look at our Election-free Zone, 2-night April Offer on www.crownandcastle.co.uk
PS if your surname is Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage or even Sturgeon, add an extra 25% to the rates above. No surcharge for Lucas – the Greens need all the help they can get. ... See MoreSee Less
Suzanne BellamyLove this place,,,, I stayed there last year with my best mate for 2 night's, we had a blast!!! Lovely hotel, lovely staff,, and lovely time with my bestest friend Brian Hornett. (RIP, MISS YOU). XXXX5 months ago
Ayshea HolyfieldI was bought up in the village lots of happy memories xx5 months ago
IAn RossGrand national tomorrow in the film the SHINING the boy in it is a great fan of the grand national he keeps writing RED RUM everywhere5 months ago
Annie OwenWhile you were away, we did pop in to make sure everything was good... and it was! Wonderful Italian meal including utterly sublime griddled king scallops with scampi and prosecco risotto. So glad you had a good Venetian break; looking forward to seeing you (and those shoes!) xxx5 months ago