Regulations & Policies

Chef launches petition for TripAdvisor to demand proof of payment

Chef Damian Wawrzyniak has launched a petition calling for TripAdvisor to demand proof of payment before reviews can be posted, after one of his restaurant’s was hit by a series of ‘fake reviews’.

Wawrzyniak, who runs the House of Feasts restaurant in Peterborough, launched the petition after his restaurant was “targeted” for fake reviews after being named as the best restaurant in the area by TripAdvisor. 

Taking to Twitter after launching the petition Wawrzyniak tweeted: “Biggest issue here, @TripAdvisor should ask for copy of receipt, once this could be obtained, review then should be accepted. Until these laws will not be implemented, fake reviews will keep flooding our businesses. If I knew, my guests were here and did not enjoy it, I would own it. 

“We only take pre-paid reservations and person behind this review is not in our system. It’s not paper receipt, its digital and can’t now be lost, we hold data securely – this reviewer do not exist. We know exactly his first name and surname.”

Wawrzyniak’s restaurant is reservation only, and as such, a deposit is taken on all bookings with receipts of payment sent digitally, meaning all diners have digital confirmation of having eaten there. He argues that Trip Advisor should adopt a similar system that would see QR codes provided to reviewers. 

TripAdvisor has since taken down the fake reviews however a spokesperson told the Telegraph that it has no such plans to create further verification checks. 

They said: “It would prevent many genuine customers from sharing their reviews and we don’t think that is fair. Just because a customer didn’t foot the bill, that doesn’t mean their voice should be silenced – their feedback on the service and food at a restaurant is still valid and useful. 

“There are much better and more effective ways to catch fake reviews – and it is those methods that we use. Our combination of human moderators and fraud detection technology ensures we can identify fake reviews through the sophisticated analysis of online data.”

They added: “Last year, we prevented more than one million fake reviews from reaching TripAdvisor by taking this approach. We are the industry leaders when it comes to fake review detection, and we are confident our model works.”

At the time of writing around 285 people have signed the petition.

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