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Trip Advisor Problems and How to deal with them


On Tuesday 13th March we first noticed a couple of TripAdvisor Reviews on the TripAdvisor page for Steam and Moorland "Engine Shed" Restaurant at the Steam and Moorland Garden Centre.

A few things did not seem right about these reviews.


Then on Wednesday 14th March, another review appeared.


Here are the three reviews -



It was fairly obvious straightaway that THREE brand new TripAdvisor accounts had been created, and that this was the FIRST review for each one of them.

It was fairly clear from the outset that ALL THREE reviews relate to ONE purported incident at our fantastic restaurant.

It was also fairly clear from the outset that these THREE reviews looked to be written "by the same hand".

It was also fairly clear from the outset that all THREE reviews seemed to be "TARGETTED" at one "black haired lady".


Our initial impressions were -

1) Unlikely story - given what we see everyday (management is omnipresent)

2) Bullying or Targeting of our Restaurant Manager (the only black haired lady)

3) Definitely something more behind this.


Here are EACH of the reviews IN FULL -


So ... we decided to "take this up with TripAdvisor".

We looked at TripAdvisor, and concluded that the best way - (perhaps the only way ?) was to raise a "Review Dispute" for each of these three reviews.


The first thing that becomes apparent is that they give you ONLY 500 characters in a small box the size of a postage stamp in which to "raise a dispute".

The size of the box is NOT very helpful  (deliberate by TripAdvisor ?  or just an error ?).

The number of characters is also severely limiting.   It equates to approximately 88 words, and does NOT really allow people to "get their complete information to TripAdvisor".

(Obviously TripAdvisor will say that brevity is important for them ... but it DOES mean that they cannot get the FULL text of the "Review Dispute".


Nevertheless - we persevered ... and this is what we wrote for EACH "Review Dispute"


3 reviews posted.

500 chars - low. Need 3000.   Rest KEPT.

Reviews relate to "same thing".

I talked to Manager (Linda) "black haired" ..

She told a girl that attire was too "low cut" (it was) & to put a jumper on

Linda not rude - or nasty.

Claimed to have happened in a crowded restaurant?

Record takings, Mother's Day

No staff or customers mentioned anything about such a "incident"

I was there saying "welcome"  &  "was all OK for you?"

Reviewers are "1st reviews" with new accounts.


We submitted these three "review disputes" on Wednesday 14th March 2018.

We quickly got three (automated) replies ...   (10:02am on Wednesday)



So these replies are identical  and fairly obviously automated.   They seem to indicate that TripAdvisor's default policy is to LEAVE the reviews in place - and "visible to the World" whilst they "investigate".

It would seem that they simply ask the reviewer if he or she "sticks by their side of the story", and IF they do the review is likely to "stick".

At this stage ... Tripadvisor have STILL not come back to OURSELVES for further information, or contacted us in any other way.


Later on Wednesday   (at 16:57)  we got TripAdvisor's conclusion on ONE of the "review disputes" -


So it would appear that Tripadvisor have -

1) Given Judgement WITHOUT hearing ANY further information from ourselves than we could put into a postage stamp of 88 words.

2) Not taken ALL THREE reviews into account

3) Not understood that this could be a case of bullying / victimisation of one of our members of staff (our Restaurant Manager).   For whatever reason.


At this stage, and in anticipation of TWO more (automated) replies from TripAdvisor "in the same vein" ... we decided to take the matter up with our local MP.

We wrote the following email ...


Hi Kevin,


The rise (and rise) of online businesses (such as Amazon and Ebay and Sportsdirect  … and many more) has had an effect for years …


It has had a massive detrimental effect on the high street (many shops close – Many jobs lost – Big names too) .

We are all aware of this …

We are also aware that the increase in Business Rates is tipping even more retail outlets “over the edge”.

You are now  finding that even Restaurant Chains  are also either “going bust” or “reducing down to their best outlets”.   Business Rates !!

Again restaurant premises close – jobs are lost – big names too.

Now this ONLY matters if you LOSE more in business rates than you gain   (so a simple mathematician would say !!!)


The things that are still MASSIVELY wrong are ….


  1. The big ONLINE companies depots still have CHEAP business rates compared to shops
  2. Big ONLINE companies pay fewer workers and pay less per head.   Great for the consumer !
  3. Big ONLINE companies are registered wherever they can pay little or no tax
  4. Big ONLINE companies do NOT always seem to be under UK or EU jurisdiction (see TripAdvisor below)
  5. Shops can’t trade normal hours on Sundays etc.   Online CAN and DOES.    I have written to you about this before.
  6. Transport costs and environmental costs of all those vans and lorries delivering to homes.   Pollution, congestion and lots of shiny new Mercedes Sprinters from Germany.
  7. Business Rates going up so much – because Gov’t thought that the economy would go up !
  8. Min. Wage Rises imposed by Govt.   Good idea in a booming economy … Bad idea at present !
  9. Imposition of Pensions on Businesses.   Ours is just about to DOUBLE,
  10. Pensions actually cost is FAR MORE in administration than they do in outgoings !!!


I know from my friends that I am NOT the only one to be mentioning these things.

Some of them even say they have written to you about some of this stuff !!





I would like you to ASSIST me with TripAdvisor    …  and ONLINE (mainly American) behemoths – like Google Ebay PayPal … and especially TripAdvisor.

How do I deal with such companies ? where is my point of engagement ? what rights do we have ? Can I use Small Claims Court ?


I know we are leaving – but is there an EU organisation that can help ?

EU has at least started getting tougher with those companies over TAX


I will NOT bore you with too many details …   BUT ….



We have just had THREE unjust reviews from TripAdvisor

All from the SAME person or persons

I am working my way through it … I am trying to deal with Tripadvisor

So far I have only had AUTOMATED responses.

I am STILL working on it.

The upshot is that there is potential BULLYING / HARRASSMENT of one of my members of staff.

So far with TripAdvisor I have found …


  1. No UK phone number
  2. No UK email address
  3. No way to contact a person …   Only automated processes
  4. No way to TAKE DOWN a review within 48 hours.
  5. Their default is that the review(s) stay there for 48 hours whilst they investigate.
  6. We are given 500 characters   (which is 85 words) to   put into a postage stamp sized box to  “Challenge a Review”
  7. They do NOT even come back to me for the rest of my information.
  8. So far they have   REJECTED my challenge on one of the reviews   (automated)
  9. I am still waiting with the other two.


I have read that some reviewers have –

  1. Used Tripadvisor to blackmail hotels and restaurants.   (successfully)
  2. Used Tripadvisor to  “knock the competition”
  3. Used Tripadvisor to abuse “workers”     (I believe this is happening in our case)
  4. Used Tripadvisor to KNOCK some hotels or restaurants out of business    (yes really !)


I have also read that there is LITTLE that can be done legally.

Tripadvisor website says  you can “Get your lawyers to write to them at Massachussets USA”.   Few companies will get satisfaction or compensation that way !!!


How can we deal with such Online giants ?     

All we require is “to be dealt with fairly”   and to have some form of compensation if they “negligently allow abuse to take place – and fail to deal with it in a timely and satisfactory manner”.


It is specifically Tripadvisor where my problem is at the moment.

(I have variously had difficulties with Google, Ebay and PayPal … and have either managed eventually to “sort it out” or “desist from using their services”).


The problem with TripAdvisor is … I never engaged their “services” in the first place !!!

They seem to be a law unto themselves.


Thanks for listening.   Hope you can provide me with a “point of contact”  (UK or EU) who might be able to “register such complaints” and liaise  with these “big online behemoths” !


Kind Regards,


Steam and Moorland Garden Centre


The next thing that happened  ... at about 11:52 on Friday 16th March 2018 we noticed that TWO of the Tripadvisor review had been removed.


BUT we did NOT get any information about WHY from TripAdvisor.    (No information at all).


This left us with ONE offending Review still published ... "RUDE OLDER STAFF".

In the meantime ... we have been doing FURTHER INVESTIGATION at our end ...


1) Our fully computerised POS Till System shows absolutely ZERO  HAM, EGGS and CHIPS were sold at the weekend.

2) There were however FOUR of these sold on Friday 9th March (at 12:18 , 12:40,   ,13:28 and 14:49pm)

3) A quick check of the staff roster and our 25 (yes twenty five) operational CCTV cameras reveals.   NO PROBLEMS.  EVERTHING RUNNING VERY WELL

4) A quick check of the staff who were in that day (we particularly asked the ONLY young girl who was in that day) revealed  NOTHING.  Nobody had been in any way rude or offensive.


So ...  we decided to CONTACT TripAdvisor again.  about the ONE remaining dubious review. ...


We have submitted the following to Tripadvisor "Business Representative Support" -

(screenshot)   (same 500 characters postage stamp)

at (approx) 15:10pm on Friday.



We STILL await to hear back from TripAdvisor !!!

(It might come as a shock to them that we are already in communication with our MP over this !)


Meanwhile - We DO already have a response (Friday 15:31) from our Member of Parliament (MP) ...


Dear Charles,

Kevin has asked me to thank you for your email about Tripadvisor.  He fully appreciates the points you make and is taking up the issue with ministers to see what advice they can offer.  We will let you know when a response comes through (this usually takes about four weeks).

Kind regards,

Hazel R. Dales (Mrs)

Private Secretary to Kevin Hollinrake  MP

Member of Parliament for Thirsk & Malton



Lets see how long TripAdvisor take to put a human being onto this case !...


UPDATE at 12 midday on Tuesday 20th March 2018 ...    Still no response (at all) from a human at TripAdvisor..

So - We have decided to "print off this webpage" and send it with the URL  to Margot James MP ... who is currently the "MP for Stourbridge" and "Minister for Digital and Creative Industries".

So - We have decided to "print off this webpage" and send it with the URL  to Margot James MP ... who is currently the "MP for Stourbridge" and "Minister for Digital and Creative Industries".

Hi there,

This email is for Margot James MP in her capacity as Minister for Digital and Creative Industries.

It would seem that there is no real (UK or even EU) jurisdiction over TripAdvisor and (many) other (mainly US-based) online behemoths.

Please read -

Thank you.

Also ...  
an interesting (ish) article from the guardian - 

Thank you for listening.

Is there anywhere that I can revert to (in the UK or EU) if/when we have "problems with Tripadvisor" that they "fail to rectify in a sensible timeframe"  ??


Kind Regards,



UPDATE at 8:50am  on Thursday 22nd March 2018 ...    Still no response (at all) from a human at TripAdvisor..

It has now been 9 days ... and STILL no response from a human at Tripadvisor.   (Hi there TripAdvisor - are you still alive ?)


It would appear that our latest submission to "Business Representative Support" is still ACTIVE - according to that Tripadvisor webpage.

(so we wait encore  ...)



(Automated ?) Survey from TripAdvisor just came through my email.   Thursday 22 March 2018


Quick questions. Better support for you.

As a registered business representative on TripAdvisor, your opinions are valuable to us.

We know you're busy but this survey will take just a minute, and your feedback can help us pinpoint ways to improve.

Thanks again for your time,
The TripAdvisor team



If it WAS just an automated survey ... it was bad timing !

There was only ONE question -


On a scale of 0 to 10 ... How likely would I be to recommend TripAdvisor to a friend ?   and Why ?


Obviously I put 0  ZERO ....    and 

You are NOT doing your job properly.    You are allowing "reviewers" to give FALSE reviews.   You are then NOT dealing with these in a timely fashion.

I have complained to yourselves (heard nothing), and to my MP and to the Minister for Digital Technologies.   (At least they are dealing with it)


Latest Update -   16:43pm  on 03 April 2018

As suspected - STILL no reply from a PERSON at TripAdvisor.


Amazing that our MP's office is better able to reply quickly than TripAdvisor.

We have submitted again to TripAdvisor ...



A reply came from TripAdvisor at 3:30am on 04/04/2018

Obviously - this is a generated reply (again).

Obviously - No human has lookd at this.   (again).

They are even REFERRING to the WRONG review




We did get TWO of the three malicious reviews "taken down".

(But they were ONLY taken down because the "reviewer" did not respond within 48 hours.)

(TripAdvisor' policy seems to be to LEAVE the reviews in place whilst they are investigated - or not)


There is a clear case of UNTRUTH in these three reviews - as witnessed by our COMPUTERISED receipts and our 25 CCTV cameras. 

There is malicious HARRASSMENT of our staff.   



Obviously - TripAdvisor are either TOO SHORT-STAFFED to be able to investigate and/or do NOT have procedures in place to deal with malicious reviews properly.


Therefore - we are dis-associating ourselves from TripAdvisor - and we recommend that OTHERS do the same.



We are taking DOWN everything to do with TripAdvisor in terms of their stickers and posters and flags in the restaurant.

We are advising ALL of our customers to use Google instead

Google has now OVERTAKEN TripAdvisor in terms of number of reviews & in terms of "sensibleness".


I am also discontinuing the use of my own personal TripAdvisor account ... with which I had left many reviews (min 4 stars I think) on hotels & restaurants from around the world & very many photos to assist other travellers.

Basically - TripAdvisor SEEMS to be falling apart ... certainly when we factor in  G O O G L E !




This POST remains as useful ammunition for those who need to challenge TripAdvisor further.

(we would provide every assistance to those who wish to CHALLENGE TripAdvisor in the courts)



UPDATE (final ?)  March 2020   

Our Trip Advisor reviews total stands at 170 - most of which are ancient history.  Trip advisor would be well advised to take down reveiws that are over 3 years old - or face EVEN more claims of "self-inflicted irrelevance".

Our Google reviews total now stands at over 530 - most of which are current - and MUCH more pleasant.


Our DEFINITE advice to anyone reading this is -

Do NOT respond to Tripadvisor comments under any circumstances.  BECAUSE Tripadvisor do not help enough when you get deliberately malicious reviews.... and if you DO respond - it merely gives credance to a platform that is "withering".

Do reply to Google comments ... but only if you have a lot of time to spare !   Do not respond to "ratings ONLY" comments with no actual comment.


UPDATE  1st August 2021


Trip advisor Review is now 189 reviews

Google Reviews is now  716 reviews


The Google reviews are (mostly) sensible.

The Trip advisor reviews are (mainly) an excuse for the idiotic brigade of the "Keyboard Warriors" to vent their frustrations !


The latest review on our Engine Shed Restaurant site is ....


Never Buy anything from Machinery Shop

Purchased New Ride On Mower from here Broke after just 20 hours work - had to chase them for a response - never came back to me. Then they said it was NOT under warranty Poor service



We have explained to Tripadvisor that a) nothing to do with restaurant b) Yes, a customer did break a belt after 20 hours - but it is NEVER warranty ! c) That any complaint CAN be addressed to the Machinery Dept.





Tripadvisor DID remove that post.    But mainly because it was "nothing to do with the restaurant".

ALSO - their default is to LEAVE malicious posts in place UNTIL they have had a look at them !

This is obviously WRONG.   They should immediately hide a review if it has a complaint against it - UNTIL it they have been able to inspect it.



Final Update  (I think)  11/03/2023


Tripadvisor is largely IRRELEVANT now.    (to us at least)

Reason :  IF somebody decides NOT to visit us because of  Tripadvisor ... then  "more fool them" !

Reason2 :  We have never really "engaged" with Tripadvisor because of their inability to quickly deal with malicious reviews.    Advice : Do NOT engage with TripAdvisor or their inept keyboard-warrior brigade.

Reason3:   Google Reviews took over.     The vast majority of our reviews are from Google  - mostly so sensible that we haven't really had to get Google to "sort them out" yet.    We will surely see how Google behaves soon enough - and anyway - I made a lot of money on Google shares !


Did our local MP  (Mr Kevin Hollinrake) help in our crusade with Tripadvisor ?   No not really.   We did get a reply from someone in a Govt department ... but it was just platitudes !

Government Platitudes




Kind Regards to all,  except this Tory Government !



Charles Hopkinson  11/03/2023