By Cailey Rizzo
September 06, 2019
Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images

On Friday, TripAdvisor refuted accusations that it has hosted “hugely suspicious” patterns of reviews on its website.

After examining nearly 250,000 reviews for the top 10 hotels in 10 tourist destinations around the world, UK consumer group Which? Travel claimed Thursday that the travel review site was not doing enough to protect users from fake reviews. According to their report, about one out of every seven hotels had "blatant hallmarks" of fake reviews, while many others raised "serious concerns."

When Which? Travel brought the 15 worst cases to TripAdvisor, the company admitted that 14 "had been caught with dodgy reviews in the past year." TripAdvisor had penalized six of the 15, and given two red penalty badges. The badge is the site's most severe warning for users. It shows up when a hotel or attraction "repeatedly fails to remedy its behavior and refuses to cooperate with TripAdvisor's investigators." The red badges given to these two hotels had been taken down ahead of the Which? Travel investigation.

"TripAdvisor's failure to stop fake reviews and take strong action against hotels that abuse the system risks misleading millions of travelers and potentially ruining their holidays," Which? Travel's Naomi Leach told CNN.

But TripAdvisor defended itself from accusations. "This is something we do every day," James Kay, a UK director for TripAdvisor, told the BBC. "We have fraud detection tools that are far more sophisticated than those used by Which?" Kay went on to mention the 2018 case where an Italian man was sentenced to nine months in prison after selling his false TripAdvisor reviews to businesses.

TripAdvisor also stated Which? Travel study was based on a “flawed understanding of fake review patterns,” according to CNN.

However, in response to the data, Which? Travel claims that TripAdvisor has removed hundreds of fake reviews.

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