Restauranteur claims reviews are ‘sabotage’

A restauranteur is seeking legal advice after he claims false reviews are being put online in an attempt to sabotage his business.

Irfan Shabir, who owns Maazi Indian restaurant, in Causeway Lane, Matlock, has approached review website TripAdvisor on several occasions after he says suspicious reviews have been posted on it disparaging his business’s reputation.

“It’s defamatory and it’s incorrect, so I will be doing everything in my power to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

The businessman claims that when he looked at some of the reviewers’ accounts there were no details on them at all.

“It’s as if they had been newly created for a specific purpose,” he added.

Mr Shabir said one of the reviews posted recently referred to a monkfish dish the reviewer claimed to have had, which has not been served in the restaurant for months.

He has approached the website about the issue on a number of occasions and reviews have been removed from the internet, however Mr Shabir says this does little to deter the alleged saboteurs, who simply put other reviews up shortly afterwards.

“I have contacted my solicitors and instructed them to use every avenue possible to bring this matter to the highest level,” he said.

A spokesman for TripAdvisor said: “TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance policy on fraudulent reviews.

“In addition to being a violation of our terms of service and an unethical practice, it’s also a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, including the UK.

“If an owner feels they’ve been subjected to an unfair review, we ask that they contact us immediately, either through out online Management Centre or by calling our help centre. We have a team of content integrity specialists that investigates in detail every report of suspicious content.”