This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

TripAdvisor Blackmailers Demand Cash and Freebies

NEW YORK (MainStreet) - Want to score a free hotel room? Assuming you have no ethics?

There's an unscrupulous gambit known to work, but know this tactic - although becoming more common - is also becoming more perilous: the TripAdivsor (TRIP - Get Report) blackmail.

One innkeeper in the Midwest, who has experienced this predicament spoke with MainStreet only under anonymity, because he does not want to encourage repeat blackmailers who use threats to cadge free rooms.

Also See: Obnoxious Hotel Fees You Don't Have to Pay

This inn has many hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews. 99% are excellent. 1% are very good. It has none worse than that, and the owner is proud of that unblemished record.

Must Read: Median Savings Rate Hits Zero, but It Doesn't Have To

So when a guest whistled him aside one morning and said, "I'm going to give you a horrible TripAdvisor review. Couldn't sleep a wink. Awful mattress" -- the owner went into panic mode.

"What can I do?"

"You can comp me the room, and I won't post on TripAdvisor," said the guest.

The owner quickly agreed - initially it seemed like a good deal.

Later he realized this was all wrong, that he had been scammed. "So many people tell me they love our mattresses, that they want to buy them for their homes," said the innkeeper.

But in that moment he gave in and that is just one of many hundreds - possibly thousands - of such extortion attempts that play out daily.

A wave of TripAdvisor spawned blackmail appears to be sweeping the country.

Evidence mounts in the United Kingdom, too, where, in recent weeks, newspapers have been awash with stories of TripAdvisor blackmail. The headline in the Tory broadsheet The Telegraph screamed: "Hotels 'hostage to TripAdvisor blackmailers.'"

"Restaurant, hotel and B&B owners in Britain have reported a huge rise in the number of customers using the site as a threat," The Telegraph wrote. "They say the guests often make a complaint and say they will post a bad review unless given a free bottle of wine, dessert or a bill reduction."

But word of advice: hold off before jumping on this freebie train. Not only is it unethical, but now hoteliers are gathering their weapons and at least some are counterattacking.

Also See: The Definitive Guide to Saving on Summer Travel

In the U.S., Kevin Beauchesne, who owns Bryson City Cabin Rentals in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, said that he "frequently" encounters guests who demand a freebie or "they will post a negative review."

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
TRIP $58.37 -8.53%
AAPL $94.02 -2.67%
FB $104.07 -5.81%
GOOG $683.57 -3.45%
TSLA $162.60 -7.26%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,204.97 -211.61 -1.29%
S&P 500 1,880.05 -35.40 -1.85%
NASDAQ 4,363.1440 -146.4150 -3.25%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs