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Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review

Thaiger

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A Koh Chang resort is fighting back and, reportedly, suing an American citizen after posting a nasty online review on TripAdvisor. After recently visiting the Sea View Resort on Trat province island in the Gulf of Thailand, American Wesley Barnes wrote an unflattering, almost bitchy, account of his stay prompting the owner to file an official complaint over the ‘unfair’ review. Barnes is accused of causing “damage to the hotel’s reputation” as well as fighting with hotel staff over refusing to pay a corkage fee for alcohol that he had brought into the hotel. Barnes’ review on TripAdvisor below, has got him in hot water with police.

Wesley B wrote a review Jul 2020…
Unfriendly staff and horrible restaurant manager
Unfriendly staff, no one ever smiles. They act like they don’t want anyone there. The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests. Find another place. There are plenty with nicer staff that are happy you are staying with them.
Date of stay: June 2020

Immigration police detained and arrested Barnes, who works and lives in Thailand, took him back to the island where he was later freed on bail. If convicted, Barnes could face up to 2 years in jail along with up to a 200,000 baht fine under current defamation laws.

Sea View Resort is located on Kai Bae Beach currently ranks 10th out of 85 properties on the island that have been reviewed on TripAdvisor. Out of 1,922 reviews, 1,090 rate the resort as excellent, 580 rate it as very good, 170 as average, 48 as poor and 32 as terrible.

They have published a reaction to the case, featured on Richard Barrow’s Facebook page…

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by Thaiger

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by Thaiger

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by Thaiger

And then….

Koh Chang resort sues American over bad review | News by Thaiger

Thailand’s defamation laws have often been used as weapons to silence people and are used by businesses and influential figures to intimidate detractors, sometimes over trivial matters.

 

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Avatar

    lou

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    quite unfair to take out most of the story from your report, that guest harassed the resort many times over the internet travelers sites during the past months, sometimes you get such un-educated badly behaving and unfair guest, luckily its rare, nobodies perfect !!!, the resort might not be as well but the story is more than basic. What is not, its to end with a court matter, but due to many reports from that guest all over the places it might be the only way to prove the resort is innocent and defamed which is causing huge loses to it. Lets see the results of the enquiry.

    • Avatar

      dimitri

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      That is why it is called a review. A bad review by an “un-educated badly behaving and unfair guest” is just what it is. It shows that not everyone was happy in this resort.

      If the resort is innocent or not doesn’t matter at all. The review just shows that 1 guest wasn’t happy.

      I also have doubts about the “huge losses”. If you see a hotel with 99 good reviews and 1 bad review it just means that 1 person was not happy. But 99% of the guests were happy. Something like that should not cause huge losses.

      • Avatar

        Evelin

        Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:39 pm

        I don’t think one bad review would will make no difference.
        It’s the handling of the story that makes the difference.
        Totally blown out of proportion.
        Hope the manager gets what’s coming to him.
        If the staff did not smile it’s probably the manger doing.
        I am sure the staff got harassed by the manager.
        The police should look into the managers behavior or who ever owns the resort.

      • Avatar

        whhocares

        Friday, October 2, 2020 at 9:16 am

        Lots of conflicting data reported. First, Trip Advisor says the initial review never posted now they say it was up 5 days. Which is it? The guy says he agreed to pay the corkage and did not start drinking until given permission then the manager came out with an attitude and that pissed him off. Then he says he saw the same manager chew out an employee. No one was there so who is to say who is lying? Hotel says they lost customers. I doubt it. They have a 8.7 rating. Of course the guy is gonna go to all the booking places to post a bad review. Who spends all that time to post a bad review unless something bad happened to him. At any rate to file a defamation complaint throwing a guy in jail maybe for 2-4 years is bullshit. Best not to visit Thailand if they can do this to you no matter who is at fault. Stupid they have not settled it. That hotel guy has cost a lot of money to Thai tourism. Not too bright. Nobody gonna pay attention to one bad review with thousands of good reviews.

  2. Avatar

    Stephen Westrip

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    I would imagine that this won’t have people flocking to the resort. It seems like a strange move.

    • Avatar

      Rowan Jee

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 5:15 am

      P.R disaster!!!!

  3. Avatar

    Mike

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    How pathetic – this will only damage the reputation of the hotel even further. It will even probably attract even more negative reviews – known as review bombing. It is not illegal. This is what tripadvisor is for. Police should be ashamed as well. An illegal arrest. This is the last thing the battered Thai tourist needs.

    • Avatar

      Lee

      Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 10:40 pm

      I agree with your first sentence. However, it was not an illegal arrest according to Thai law. As well, the accused is not a ‘Thai tourist’, but lives and works in Thailand. He should know the law there and have governed his comments accordingly.

  4. Avatar

    Sam

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Crazy country when police (who should really have better things to do) arrest someone over a review on a website! Tell the world about this ! Not that they’re ever likely to come to Thailand again

  5. Avatar

    James

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    I hate TripAdvisor as anyone can write anything and get away with it as far as I can see as if you as an owner of a business complain about the comment you are ignored by TripAdvisor and the comment stays in place no matter how stupid and untrue it is.

    I had a large Thai restaurant in England for 26 years, one customer said “The spring rolls did not contain enough meat as the restaurant was trying to save on costs and cheat the customer”

    We only sell vegetarian spring rolls, everything is clear on our menu.

    Many other false claims have been made by people but we had to live with it as I think TripAdvisor is just a business out to make a profit and do not care what people write about us.

    The real proof of a restaurant is success and we were in business for 26 years and always very busy with many return customers.

    I did write a review about TripAdvisor once saying how bad a company TripAdvisor it in my opinion.

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      TripAdvisor empowers lunatics to write whatever they want and destroy someone’s business. When you let TripAdvisor know that a certain review is a lie and you can even prove it, the answer from TripAdvisor is that everybody is entitled to an opinion and you as a business owner can defend yourself by answering the bad review in question, meanwhile the damage has been done.

      • Avatar

        James

        Monday, September 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm

        Joe

        True, it enables losers who have no position in life to be important for five minutes of their miserable lives.

        The name of the company should be WankerAdvisor.

  6. Avatar

    lou

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    This matter can affect the whole already damaged industry, so yes !!! It has gone too far both sides.
    I just put down my feeling working in hospitalities as well

  7. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I’m a long time trip advisor contributor. For me at least, I ignore all negative reviews which are based at the personal level. Employees have bad days and guests sometimes get offended over the stupidest things. Those reviews are not helpful to me when deciding where to stay. That said I do read the negative reviews more than the positive ones since they are the ones who will let me know the physical issues with a resort. Not trying to justify the guy in question, but getting sued over a review is quite chilling for others, the country and the site in general. Tells me you can’t trust reviews for Thailand since people will not tell the truth for fear of being sued. The site allows the hotel to post a reply disputing the review. Most are meaningless and clearly computer generated. Still many do respond point by point and very helpful. Last exactly how is pointing out the manager is Czech xenophobic? Seems more like an attempt to set up a legal point for the lawsuit.

    • Avatar

      pat

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      I agree. If the manager was Czech and all the reviewer did was reference this as a fact with no other comment in relation to this fact, what’s the issue? How is it xenophobic?

      • Avatar

        andre

        Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 7:51 pm

        Obvious: Eastern European Mafia.

  8. Avatar

    John

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    It is despicable to bring your own alcoholic beverages to a restaurant. It is despicable to write nasty reviews and never mention your own boorish behavior. It is despicable to use “slave” or “race” metaphors as they are egregious and inflammatory slurs that have no bearing on the complaint. Worst of all making associations accusations about Covid should be a crime. It is like spraying graffiti on the walls of a business. I hope the authorities prosecute Wesley fully. If you scream “fire” in a crowded theater it is a crime in America Wesley. If you try to destroy a business and the life of the people who depend on it with language such as “plague” “slavery” or other defamation, it should be considered a crime.

  9. Avatar

    TimHouston

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Another WTF news from Thailand, so a guest puts a review on a website and gets arrested and detained by Police??? If convicted could face up to 2 years in jail along with up to a 200,000 baht fine??? WTF is going on in this country ???!!!
    Beside I can see on Tripadvisor that many people made bad reviews with the complains being very similar to the one left by this American guy.

  10. Avatar

    Thomas

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    It has already spread to the international news – damage done. Congratulation, another nail in the coffin. It does not matter who is right or wrong. It takes 2 to tango. I work in hospitality myself, if I go to court every time some customer pisses me off I would have no time to do my job.

  11. Avatar

    Bob Ume

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    This is not the type of publicity Thailand needs right now. It’s all over BBC news and other big news agencies.

    Doesn’t matter if the guest was right or not, or if the hotel is good or bad. This kind of publicity will just scare potential “money tourism” away.

  12. Avatar

    Roger Ritchie

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Negative reviews not allowed in Thailand, so why allow reviews?

  13. Avatar

    Maryandy

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Don’t go to islands that have such stupid laws. They jail people for the most idiotic things. Leave the greedy bas****s alone & visit one of the many beautiful & friendly islands of the world.

  14. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Great move!
    Wait for the UK tabloids to take this story and this will cost thousands of ‘missed travellers’.
    Not to mention that although I believe the resort was somewhat right to protect itself, I will make sure I never go to a place ready to sue me for a minor reason.
    Brilliant ‘loose-loose’ decision…

  15. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Was the B500 bill presented after the drinks bought in were drunk or before?
    Were they warned of the corkage?
    If not it was a scam invented on the spot by the hotel.
    I was once banned from the Pattaya Triangle bar in a similar situation.
    An Irish man there who always drank wine there was unable. They had no wine.
    They could have bought wine at the seven/eleven and made money on the sales. But they were greedy.
    It was cheaper from their source.
    The Irishman asked if he could bring his own bottle in.
    They agreed and when he began drinking charged him B200 corkage.
    I objected and later was banned.
    However the person that banned me was later sacked because of keeping some of the bars taking in his room and not the safe.
    We learned later he was a convicted pedophile – I kid you not.
    Corkage is ok, but announce it in advance, and not after the drink has been consumed.

  16. Avatar

    Albert Raska

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:00 am

    There was a book written many years ago titled “The Ugly American”. It describes typical American tourist behaviors. People who have to deal with American tourists and especially expats should read it. After reading “The Ugly American” it is your decision if you want to deal with us “Ugly Americans” at all. A sign posted at the entrance of your establishment, “Ugly Americans NOT WELCOME”, would be most appropriate. When I travel I am mostly successful at not behaving like an “Entitled American Jerk”. But I sincerely apologize for all of the times I have behaved badly. ?

    • Avatar

      Andrew Thompson

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Maybe a new book should be written called “The Ugly Chinese”. Unless you haven’t been keeping up over the years, more complaints have been made about Chinese tourists then any other nationality. By the way, is Wesley Barnes truly an American? It says he is an an American expat, but that doesn’t confirm has true nationality. The name “Wesley” is not a common American name, sounds more like someone from the UK. Just saying.

      • Avatar

        Peter

        Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 9:14 pm

        I know a LOT of people in the UK, thousands in fact, but, I DO NOT KNOW OF A SINGLE PERSON CALLED WESLEY. It certainly isn’t a common UK name

  17. Avatar

    Ray

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:48 am

    I can totally understand the resorts frustration with an unfair negative review. My partners guesthouse also had such reviews. Our overall rating was pretty good so we didn’t bother much. After 6 years or so there was a new hotspot for tourist created in our area. Especially backpackers flocked to this place. This meant we had far less guests but luckily some travelers preferred not to follow the tourist trail. Many of the new places had very high scores which are very dubious. With our good overall rating of 8.5 we went down in the listings. Any new negative review could become a tipping point. It can only be offset with several reviews with the maximum points, which is very hard to achieve. A few years later when the situation was since long widely published, we received a guest who was pleasantly surprised with the room (a strong point is that our rooms are good value for the price). When on a trip the next day, he discovered were most people were hanging out. Clearly he had done no prior research. He asked to check out at 6 pm and insisted we would not charge the upcoming night. Naturally, we refused. It was too late in the day for that. He wrote a damaging review as revenge in which he slammed everything, the room, our hospitality, our highly praised cleanliness and more. This was my reaction. I happily spent 8 dollars to register a website using his full name in the URL. When people google this person online, I made sure it appeared high in the search list. On the website I explained the despicable behavior of this person when travelling. Such individuals think they are under the radar of friends and family. The thing is, reviews on TripAdvisor don’t appear in Google search when you enter the author’s name. The true nature of these despicable people comes to the surface when they have a minor disappointment or setback. They punish hard-working hosts for their own fault. Wesley Barnes did not adhere to a simple house rule and he set out to damage the hosts reputation. I almost feel the urge to register a website in his name just to have justice done.

  18. Avatar

    Al R

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 3:06 am

    There was a book written many years ago titled “The Ugly American”. It describes typical American tourist behaviors. People who have to deal with American tourists and especially expats should read it. After reading “The Ugly American” it is your decision if you want to deal with us “Ugly Americans” at all. A sign posted at the entrance of your establishment, “Ugly Americans NOT WELCOME”, would be most appropriate. When I travel I am mostly successful at not behaving like an “Entitled American Jerk”. But I sincerely apologize for all of the times I have behaved badly. ?

  19. Avatar

    Rowan Jee

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 5:10 am

    Bonkers Bonkers Bonkers!!! Accept a bad review for once, hardly hurt…It actually good, as then know others genuine!!!
    When everything always worry…
    There always “odd job” out there.. On pretty much every format these days.. But to highlight it,, “CRAZY”
    You gonna get 10 more for it!!!You cannot possibly sue by someone giving opinion!!!
    I go Ko Chang frequently (before this nonsense) At least twice a year..
    100% now never stay at that resort now, incase do something wrong.

  20. Avatar

    Bob Ume

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I went on TripAdvisor and read some of the 1 star reviews for this hotel (there is a lot..)

    Reading these clearly shows that the management can’t handle criticism, they really get defensive quickly.

    Anyway the damage for Thailand in the press is done already.

  21. Avatar

    Peter

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Well, posting many reviews under duplicate accounts seems defamatory to me at least that seems to be his intention. On another note, I have heard that we were arrested in the school he worked at and he was on a tourist visa so that may cause him some trouble. I looked up his name on google and look what I found hahaha It seems he likes causing trouble wherever he goes. What a twat

    https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article179883836.html

  22. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:58 am

    It’s the top three stories on google “Thailand news”” . All of them have the words: stifle, notorious, human rights, and Thailand in them. I have feeling when this is all said and done all three parties will wish they handled this differently.

  23. Avatar

    Maverick

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 9:40 am

    This was a clear attempt by a badly behaved guest to “punish “ this resort – repeated negative reviews is malicious – by all means warn future guests about corkage charge ( I always check first) but to then embark on a barrage of abuse , some of it xenophobic is unacceptable – that said won’t end well for either party – our American friend could end up being deported…….only has himself to blame….

  24. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Most readers can spot the ill-intentioned reviews. Also, if every review is rosy, that to me is a red flag..

  25. Avatar

    Concerned Traveler

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Boycott the hotel and the country for oppressing the freedom of speech until this resolved. They want tourist money but cant take feedback. There are so many other places that will be happy to take my money and not send me to jail for exposing their bad practices. And why is this website bringing up unrelated cases. It’s like bringing up the hotel’s employee complaints.

  26. Avatar

    karl

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:15 am

    The rating portals should give an indication of the legal situation in Thailand.

  27. Avatar

    LarryDavid

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Leave a positive review or you can be arrested. That sends a signal. Good luck Sea View Koh Chang, you are going to need it.

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