A resort in Thailand is suing a guest who published a poor review on a travel booking website.
On Dec. 19, Khing, a guest at the Ozone Hotel near Khao Yai National Park, complained about her deluxe suite. The mountain park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was also used to film Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach.
Khing criticised the resort as “too expensive” and falling short of expectations” in her Agoda review, which has since been removed.
“The room did not look new as it was advertised,” Khing stated, that the accommodation was dirty and that the hotel workers were unhelpful. I could not call reception from my room, and I had to walk down the hall by myself.” Some of the workers on the night shift were friendly and inviting, while others were less helpful.
While she didn’t find the mountain scenery to her liking, she wasn’t the only one. Compared to other resorts in the area, Khing thought the view from his accommodation was “just good.”
Agoda user Khing left a negative review of the resort, and the resort responded with a short, sorry comment. Managers then appeared to have a change of heart, serving her with an official notice demanding that she remove the review and publish an apology in five Thai language publications for seven days or pay a large amount of money for compensation.
“She was told by the resort to delete the review comment immediately, or else she must pay the resort 50,000 Thai baht [$1,500] per day in compensation and 3 million [$90,000) for the damages,” her lawyer wrote, adding that if she didn’t pay, she’d face a criminal lawsuit.
The case is now pending, and it’s unclear whether Khing plans to comply with the demands.
The case is just the second of its sort in Thailand, where defamation is seen as a criminal offence rather than a civil one. Even if a person’s criticism is deemed valid or fair, this does not insulate them from legal action in Thailand.
Another hotel, this time on the Thai holiday island of Koh Chang, threatened legal action against an American tourist named Wesley Barnes in a similar event in 2020. Barnes had submitted numerous critical reviews about the hotel on TripAdvisor and other travel websites, including one implying “slavery” at the property.
Following the defamation lawsuit, the authorities detained him, and he spent the weekend in jail. Barnes’ charges were finally dropped after he gave a public apology in which he admitted to becoming “carried away.”
However, TripAdvisor took the unusual step of issuing a warning on the hotel’s profile. “This hotel or individuals linked with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user for writing and sharing online reviews.” “As a result, the reviewer spent time in jail,” the warning noted, the first of its type on the site.
Source: Vice World News