A Tourist is facing up to two years in jail for leaving negative reviews on TripAdvisor about his stay at a hotel in Thailand.
Wesley Barnes, an American who lives and works in Thailand wrote what the hotel called damning reviews about his stay there. The Sea View Resort on the island of Koh Chang accused Barnes of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel“.
The resort owner filed a complaint that Barnes has posted ‘unfair reviews’ about his hotel on TripAdvisor. In one review, Barnes stated that the staff were unfriendly and acted “like they don’t want anyone here“.
Unlike most Western countries Thailand has very strict defamation laws with sentences up to two years in a Thai prison. Barnes could also be fined up to £4,925 if convicted of defamation by publication.
So I myself have posted many reviews on sites like TripAdvisor leaving my two cents opinion on if they are good or bad. I have not gone as far as Barnes did when he allegedly accused the report of “xenophobic connotations, accusations of slavery“.
This poor American was arrested then briefly held in custody at Koh Chang and released on bail. One would imagine that was not a nice experience and probably less comfortable than the Sea View Resort.
I tend to think even though the hotel had the right to get Barnes charged under their laws it does not helps with tourism at the moment. As the world in pandemic crisis, the last thing a place like Thailand needs is more bad press.
I mean every hotel has had one or more bad reviews as whats the old saying “you can’t please everyone“.
If we look at an example of the hotel Primades Resort in Tenerife it shows the difference of opinions.
Carole Ohara from Birmingham in the UK wrote this review about the Primades resort “I stayed here for two weeks with my husband and my daughter and her friend in another room our rooms were nice the tele was fine we had kettle microwave and hob…well done piramides i enjoyed every moment and will be back“.
Well, it would appear Carole was over the moon with her stay and will most likely return someday. However, Frankie D from Stockport, UK wrote this about the same venue in the same month.
Difference of opinion
“I would have rather stayed in a cat c prison were you let out for the day, and the food would be better to…hotel needs to be knocked down and flattened for a new car park…I would feel tight letting a homeless person stay in it and eat in it, so so so poor.“.
Looking at these two reviews they are miles apart and shows that you can not please everyone. It is all down to expectations and Primades Resort in Tenerife is a budget hotel. If you expect something four-star then you will be in for a disappointment.
The best tip I can give for anyone using TripAdvisor is NOT to expect every review to be positive and look for an overall rating. I myself would never stay at anything listed as less than 4.5 stars out of 5 on their website.
Mr Barnes should also remember when you live in a country like Thailand you should know that your level of free speech is very much diminished. He should have known better since he also lives in that country.
However, I did find another review from July 2020 for the Sea View Resort in Koh Chang on TripAdvisor here.
It is from Wesley B who wrote this “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. “.
Let’s hope Wesley wrote the review after he left Thailand and has no plans to return anytime soon. I would think that any attempt by Mr Barnes of getting Wesley to act as a witness in his trial in Thailand might fall on deaf ears.