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News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking

Thaiger

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After news hit of an American being arrested and sued for defamation over leaving a bad review about a Koh Chang hotel on TripAdvisor, many are taking to the internet to voice their opinions on the issue. The Sea View Resort owners say it tried in vain to negotiated with Wesley Barnes after he posted the reviews, but he continued to post completely untrue comments.

The owners released a five-page statement after the news of it suing the American gained widespread attention. You can read their response HERE. Then, Barnes submitted his own response detailing the situation which was also published online.

News of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by ThaigerNews of American sued over bad Koh Chang hotel review has everyone talking | News by Thaiger

Now, the story has gained even more attention as netizens have begun posting their opinions on the controversial issue of Thailand’s defamation laws. Below, are some of those posts on The Thaiger’s Facebook page.

“Can someone clarify for me Thailand’s position on people leaving honest bad reviews as my girlfriend says it’s fine to leave a bad review of a business and it’s not defamation if honest of course? I have heard people say that you simply can’t leave bad honest reviews at all here but that sounds ridiculous. The thing about many Thais is that they think they’re beyond reproach. They can’t accept criticism because it’s not aligned with their grandiose self-image. Many also have a torrid time when it comes to ownership of their own actions and decision making.”

“OMG! He is arrested for a review.?! I know of an expat in Malaysia that wrote a bad review about a Thai-owned resort in Penang and he was sued as well. Be careful with what you share in that neck of the woods.”

“It’s one thing to leave a bad review but to throw in “modern slavery” remarks escalates to thai defamation law. He shouldn’t be arrested for his comments but you need to respect the country laws no matter how crazy they seem compared to your own country. This press is going to negatively affect the business way more than that review would have done though.”

“The owner should have settled with the review platforms privately and move on. I would hardly hold up Trip Advisor as a beacon of truth, however some people write extremely personal and vindictive comments that go beyond a review, in an attempt to gain product or refunds in return, this is an absolute fact, and hopefully this might make people think before they start writing reviews that are not exactly honest, I have read stories critical of the General Managers because they didn’t contact the guests, some really petty reviews by rather petty people.”

If Barnes is indeed found to be guilty of defamation, he could spend up to 2 years in prison and pay up to a 200,000 baht fine.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Britney

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    I would sue the poor grammar in that review!

    • Avatar

      Richard Joynes

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      And he’s an English teacher!

      • Avatar

        mike

        Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:08 am

        Hes American, so English is his second language

        • Avatar

          Frank Leboeuf

          Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:59 am

          French-American most likely – see the use of “server”(serveur) for waiter…

  2. Avatar

    Brian

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Oh, god — “master/slave”??? This update makes me lean toward thinking that Barnes is a lunatic suffering from delusions of persecution. This is unfortunately common these days.

  3. Avatar

    Hmmmmm

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    If this resort only knew how people the world over are likely going to troll them into oblivion, they would have taken pause.

    • Avatar

      Patrick Robert Marcel nouvel

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      the American would not pause for months, how to do, leave your resort be killed by such comments when 1000 gave good ones ?

  4. Avatar

    Chris

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    This is such a biased trash article. Nearly everyone reading this has Facebook and half the comments support the hotel for being a drunk, lying and threatening.

  5. Avatar

    Mike

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Nope – the review bombing has started. Google etc is now awash with bad reviews for this place.

    get a grip – own it, address it, stop being such a big crybaby.

  6. Avatar

    Max

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Thailand’s standard of service in tourism is outstanding, but putting a man in jail for a bad or unfair review, I fear will raise antipathy against Thailand. Is this what Thailand needs at this time?

    • Avatar

      AntiCommunist

      Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:09 am

      Exactly! Horrible practice.

  7. Avatar

    jacklord

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Not too erudite. Not too bright. Was already in a huff before his visit even began. A typical waster.

  8. Avatar

    Davidnicholls

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Should pay back what they o people frist then have there fun ??

  9. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    This isn’t going to end well for any of the three parties. The hotel is getting nothing but bad press, way more than a single bad review.
    This guy is very likely to get a big fine and deported. And Thailand itself of coming out badly. This story is trending everywhere and all talking about Thailand’s libel laws and none of them in a good way. Not a good thing when you have protesters in the streets and trying to reopen your country. I find it hard to believe the only way to handle this issue was with someone in jail for a freaking review.

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:08 am

      I agree, it looks like a whole lot of communication gone very wrong, followed up by escalation that doesn’t seem to leave any winners. The silent party in this is the website itself, they seem to be evading any heat for facilitating an unncessary escalation. TripAdvisor seems to be the fourth party in this, and may be profiting from all this.

  10. Avatar

    Prof. JPD

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Whatever the court decision will be,…the bail (or deposit), probably plus an additional financial fine, is gone with the wind. Mr. Barnes will not see it again.
    In my opinion the Koh Chang Hotel management, I assume knowing about Thai law and how any accusation of a foreigner might end up, should have reacted more sensible, reputable and with sure instinct. Definitly not a good strategy,..it´s backfiring on the hotel itself.

  11. Avatar

    lou

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    after deep study over all comments from various sites over the hotel and the detailed report seen, interested because I am myself a resort GM I come to the conclusion that this American guest is a narcissic psychopath and the simple way he should get out of the mess he created is to set apologies through the medias and directly, for sure the hotel will drop the claim

  12. Avatar

    Robert K Choate

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    I am sure that this matter could have been settled in a completely different manner with a good outcome where both parties came out feeling good about this incident. First, if you are not satisfied with the service take politely to management away from others and never raise your voice in the conversation. Do not cause any Thai to lose face NEVER because at that point you have lost all conversation. Secondly maybe after reading the interview the manager could have contacted the writer and offered them a free evening at the hotel and with that changed their thinking and asked to just remove the review after their stay. Now that it has hit the news both come out looking bad, next time do not write a review if you don’t have anything good to say, for the hotel try to please guests always. I relize at this point in time things are hard on everyone.

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:10 am

      There doesn’t seem to be any info about what the ethnicity of anyone is in this story.

  13. Avatar

    Jerrod

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    The hotel’s management addressed the bad review completely wrong. They should’ve just responded tactfully and let the bad review go. If the hotel was really an excellent hotel, the one bad review wouldn’t have any real negative effect on its business. Additionally, the hotel would simply need to contest the negative review, by demonstrating excellent service to future customers.

  14. Avatar

    Remo

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    It is a big mistake to assume that rules in Thailand are the same as in western democracies.

    This is Thailand, not the US, not Germany, not Switzerland, and if you live here you must learn and obey the often weird regulations, and if you dont like it, you have the choice to leave.

  15. Avatar

    Paulo Triesma

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Irrespective of WHO is right or wrong in the fight between the customer and the hotel we still have a situation whereby Thailand is a country where hotels sue customers for posting negative opinions of them. I use the word “opinion” very carefully as whatever you may think of the narratives from both sides the customer has only voiced in opinion. You can decide his/her opinion is biased or the hotels opinion is biased but surely both sides have a right to freely state their opinions.

    As frequent visitor to KC I have never stayed at the hotel in question. I am unlikely to now just in case I wiped have a bad opinion of it and felt I could not voice my opinion in that regard.

  16. Avatar

    ron bergkotte

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Does anyone knows more countries where I get the chance being arrested for writing a bad review ? I will start to avoid them.

  17. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:41 am

    I have checked Tripadvisor. It is packed with one post contributors who post excellent and never posts again on anything.
    For instance Tom Henniningh posted in December 2017 three lines, wonderful, delicious food etc.
    But never goes back.
    It seems he registered just to give the resort a excellent – but never goes back and it seems and never posts about any other hotels
    This person who is being sued should sue this Tom Henniningh for a false review.

    • Avatar

      bkkdennis

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 9:46 am

      I read a report about fake reviews on TripAdvisor a few years ago. A computer program was used to analyze the sentence structure and specific words and found that it was quite similar in many reviews indicating that one individual was responsible. This leads to the conclusion was that someone was getting paid to write positive reviews.

      The hotel could have simply countered the review by saying we do not permit food or beverages purchased outside to be consumed on our premises like almost every other business in the world.

      • Avatar

        rinky stingpiece

        Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:12 am

        Exactly, the response is part of the problem, people skills seem fundamental to running this kind of business.

  18. Avatar

    eLizabeth

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 3:48 am

    This brouhaha is all a tempest in a teapot…blown needlessly into a mountain instead of being left as the meager molehill it actually is..

    And sadly the associated negative publicity will globally damage the image of Thailand as a friendly and extremely welcoming country..

    Next time it would be wise to remember the three items below…before making bad decisions..

    Number one – there is almost no other country in the world with more friendly and empathetic hotel and restaurant owners, managers and staff than the Thai people..

    Number two – successful businesses the world over run on the belief that ‘the customer is always right’..

    Number three – “it is cheaper and easier to keep a customer happy than to find a new customer”..

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Number Four – TripAdviser seem to have facilitated this problem instead of resolving it with both the hotel and the guest. There should be a way for both customers and businesses to flag up issues with TripAdviser, and get a solution, just like with eBay.

  19. Avatar

    M

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 9:25 am

    It is normal that Businesses get good and bad reviews, that part of life.

    I also have multiple businesses and have to accept reviews as long as there are no false facts in there. In his posted review i only see opinion and no lies. If the staff where friendly or not is his opinion pretty simple.

    Even if the Hotel tried to negotiate with him on the review doesn’t mean he has to agree or even respond on any negotiation.

    A proper respond would be a clarification from the hotel side of view under his original review which is possible on any hotel booking side.

    The whole incident now will not benefit that hotel at all.

  20. Avatar

    Ted Brim

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    The grammar tells me this was not written by an American. I’m American and nobody would write like this. To me it looks like it was generated by a computer. Not even a very uneducated person would speak or write like this. There is nothing natural in it. If it’s written by a human it was not a native born American.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      I think the police and the immigration police probably know the nationality of the person they arrested!

    • Avatar

      Frank Leboeuf

      Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:56 am

      I’d say French-American, based on tells like “the server” (“serveur” in French) for waiter…

  21. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Thailand’s TAT should introduce a TripAdvisor-like service where it is only possible to leave positive reviews.
    They already created Richard Barrow, so clearly have an edge in this domain.

  22. Avatar

    OnkelDICKal

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    I was also charge with the defamation law, because I wrote the truth about the condo I bought..
    I was uploading pictures about how terrible they build the condo I bought..they said to many times to take down the pictures, but I refused because it was the truth about the condo project.. And I can still say it was my worst buy ever..
    The defamation law take away the rights for free speak.. really wish thailand had freedom of speak.. but nooopee…

    • Avatar

      Alexandra

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      Something everyone should consider when deciding where to go on holiday. This “Wesley Barnes” behaved like a jackass, I’m sure. He could have handled the situation in a myriad of ways that would have avoided this. But the hotel having him arrested is going to blow back on them in a most negative way. No business should be so bothered over a few bad reviews on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor if full of fake accounts and bogus reviews anyways.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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PHOTO: Pixnio

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