Menu
TripAdvisor gets Italian fine overturned

TripAdvisor gets Italian fine overturned

A court rejected a fine against TripAdvisor for allegedly publishing misleading information

An Italian court has overturned a €500,000 (US$550,000) fine imposed last December on the online travel company TripAdvisor for allegedly publishing misleading information in its reviews.

The fine was imposed by Italy's Competition Authority (AGCM) at the request of a consumer organization and a national hotelier association, who argued that TripAdvisor did not do enough to ensure that the hotel and restaurant reviews posted by users on its website were reliable.

In a ruling made available to the parties on Monday, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio said TripAdvisor explicitly acknowledged that it was not able to check the truthfulness of its reviews and advised users to consider broader trends in user-generated recommendations.

"TripAdvisor never asserted that all its reviews were true, pointing out instead that it is impossible to exercise a blanket control and inviting users to consider 'trends' in the reviews rather than single contributions," the court said. "We do not understand the harm to the consumer identified by the Authority in its concluding arguments."

TripAdvisor welcomed the verdict. The court's decision, it said, "confirmed what we always knew: that TripAdvisor is a hugely valuable and reliable resource," and that the company didn't mislead its users.

The court confirmed that AGCM's ruling was "completely unwarranted," while acknowledging the industry-leading tools Trip Advisor uses to protect its site against fraud, the company said in a statement released Tuesday.

"We see this as a victory for consumers as well as an endorsement of TripAdvisor's commitment to help democratize the travel industry," the statement said.

The National Consumers Union remained unconvinced, saying it intended to appeal the court's "crude thesis."

"We recognize that controlling on the Web may be more complicated than in a physical market, but the law and supervisory activity cannot remain permanently two steps behind current progress," Massimiliano Dona, the union's secretary, said in a statement.

The hotelier association Federalberghi said the court verdict confirmed the existence of a serious problem and complained that TripAdvisor continued to refuse to introduce simple improvements, taking advantage of gaps in the law. The association cited a recent "sting" by the lifestyle magazine Italia a Tavola (Italy at Table), which posted fake reviews of a make-believe restaurant in order to boost it to the top of the TripAdvisor rankings in a small Lombardy town.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags e-commerceregulationtripadvisorlegalgovernmentinternet

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments