A Thai hotel has threatened to sue a customer for £70,000 after it gave the hotel a 6/10 rating and said in a review it was ‘overpriced’.
The guest, identified as Ms Khing, reviewed the Ozone Hotel near Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand on Agoda.com on December 19 after staying there in June.
“The room didn’t look brand new as the pictures suggested,” she wrote in a review that has since been deleted.
‘It was not clean. I couldn’t call reception from my room so I had to go downstairs on my own. The night shift workers weren’t very helpful, but some were welcoming.
‘I want [the hotel] to adjust the price and improve the quality to match the price. If the opportunity arises, I will return.
The hotel responded politely on the site, but then phoned Ms Khing asking her to remove the review, pay £1,100 a day in compensation and pay £65,850 for damages.
His lawyer said Ozone Hotel repeatedly demanded money and an apology for seven straight days before threatening to sue for defamation.
The Ozone Hotel, near Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand, has threatened to sue a guest, identified as Ms Khing, for £70,000 after giving the hotel a 6/10 rating and stated in a review that it was “overpriced”.
Ms Khing said the resort did not look like the photos posted online, was not clean and the staff were unwelcoming.
The hotel politely responded to the notice on the site, but then telephoned Ms Khing to ask her to withdraw the notice, pay £1,100 per day in compensation and pay £65,850 for damages.
Lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd said the hotel initially thanked Ms Khing for her comments about her June 13-14 stay before contacting privately with demands for money.
‘The resort told her to remove the comment from the review immediately or else she would have to pay 50,000 Thai Baht to the resort. [£1,100] per day in compensation and 3 million[£65850)fordamages’saidBiebangkerdauBangkokPost[£65850)forthedamages’BiebangkerdtoldtheBangkokPost[£65850)pourlesdommages»adéclaréBiebangkerdauBangkokPost[£65850)forthedamages’BiebangkerdtoldtheBangkokPost
The resort told Ms. Khing that she had 15 days from their letter to pay the money and apologize.
Biebangkerd added that the resort had threatened its client with criminal defamation charges if she refused to comply with their demands, claiming to have tarnished the hotel’s reputation.
Ms Khing told local news outlets she felt ‘threatened’ after receiving the letter, but insisted she had published the notice in good faith, hoping it would encourage management to improve the complex.
This has brought new scrutiny to Thailand libel laws, which human rights activists say are too harsh and sweeping because they can be used to silence critics.
In a similar case in 2020, an American teacher was arrested and threatened with two years in prison for defamation after posting a negative review accusing hotel staff of “modern day slavery”.
Wesley Barnes wrote a TripAdvisor review of the four-star, $60-a-night Sea View Resort Koh Chang in Chiang Mai that cited “slave labor, xenophobic comments against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel to the coronavirus repeatedly on website platforms”.
In a similar case in 2020, American teacher Wesley Barnes was arrested and threatened with two years in prison for defamation after posting a negative review accusing hotel staff of ‘modern day slavery’
Wesley Barnes wrote a TripAdvisor review of the four-star, $60-a-night Sea View Resort Koh Chang in Chiang Mai that cited “slave labor, xenophobic comments against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel to the coronavirus repeatedly on website platforms”
The lawsuit against Barnes was dropped in October 2020 after he offered a “sincere apology” in which he fully withdrew his original review.
“All statements I have made are completely false,” Barnes wrote in a statement. “These reviews and comments were written out of anger and spite. Now I, Mr. Barnes, have regretted my actions and would like to apologize to Sea View Koh Chang and its staff.
He also took responsibility for “my repeatedly false and untrue statements/reviews made to maliciously defame Sea View Koh Chang”.