Thai hotel threatens to SUE guest for £70,000 

Thai hotel threatens to SUE guest for $100,000 after she gave the hotel a 6/10 rating on review site Agoda and said it was ‘too expensive’

  • The guest, identified only as Khing, gave the Ozone Hotel, Thailand, a 6/10 rating
  • She complained the hotel was ‘too expensive’ and asked staff to reduce the price
  • Review, posted on Agoda.com, said the room did not look like the pictures online
  • Hotel wrote back demanding £1,100 a day in compensation, £65,850 in damages
  • A Thai hotel has threatened to sue a guest for £70,000 after she gave the hotel a 6/10 rating and said in a review that it was ‘too expensive’. 

    The guest, identified as Ms Khing, rated the Ozone Hotel near Khao Yai national park in central Thailand on Agoda.com on December 19 after staying there in June. 

    ‘The room did not look new as the photos suggested,’ she wrote in a review that has since been deleted.

    ‘It wasn’t clean. I could not call reception from my room, so I had to walk down by myself. Night-shift staffers were not so helpful, but some were welcoming. 

    ‘I would like [the hotel] to adjust the price and improve the quality to match the price. If the opportunity presents itself, I will visit again.’

    The hotel responded politely on the site but later phoned Ms Khing to demand she remove the review, pay £1,100 a day in compensation and fork out £65,850 for damages.

    Her lawyer said that Ozone Hotel had repeatedly demanded money and an apology for seven consecutive days before threatening filing a criminal lawsuit 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 she gave the hotel a 6/10 rating and said in a review that it was 'too expensive'

    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 she gave the hotel a 6/10 rating and said in a review that it was ‘too expensive’

    Ms Khing said the resort did not look like the photographs that had been posted online, was not clean and that staff were unwelcoming

    Ms Khing said the resort did not look like the photographs that had been posted online, was not clean and that staff were unwelcoming

    The hotel responded politely to the review on the site but later phoned Ms Khing to demand she remove the review, pay £1,100 a day in compensation and fork out £65,850 for damages

    The hotel responded politely to the review on the site but later phoned Ms Khing to demand she remove the review, pay £1,100 a day in compensation and fork out £65,850 for damages

    Lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd said the hotel had initially thanked Ms Khing for her feedback on her June 13-14 stay before reaching out privately with demands for cash. 

    ‘She was told by the resort to delete the review comment immediately, or else she must pay the resort 50,000 Thai baht [£1,100] per day in compensation and 3 million [£65,850) for the damages,’ Biebangkerd told the Bangkok Post

    The resort told Ms Khing she had 15 days from their letter to pay the money and issue apologies. 

    Biebangkerd added the resort had threatened his client with a criminal lawsuit for defamation if she refused to comply with their demands, complaining that she had sullied the hotel’s reputation.

    Ms Khing told local news outlets she felt ‘threatened’ after receiving the letter but insisted she had posted the review in good faith, hoping it would encourage management to improve the resort.   

    The case prompted an outcry on Thai social media where users argued customers should have the right to complain about substandard services – and others questioned Agoda.com’s privacy policy. 

    It has brought fresh scrutiny to Thailand’s defamation laws, which human rights activists say are too harsh and sweeping because they can be used to silence criticism. 

    In a similar case in 2020, an American teacher was arrested and threatened with two years in jail for defamation after posting a negative review that accused 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 mentioned ‘slave labor, xenophobic comments against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel to coronavirus on multiple occasions on website platforms’.

    In a similar case in 2020, American teacher Wesley Barnes was arrested and threatened with two years in jail for defamation after posting a negative review that accused hotel staff of 'modern day slavery'

    In a similar case in 2020, American teacher Wesley Barnes was arrested and threatened with two years in jail for defamation after posting a negative review that accused 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 mentioned 'slave labor, xenophobic comments against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel to coronavirus on multiple occasions on website platforms'

    Wesley Barnes wrote a TripAdvisor review of the four-star $60-a-night Sea View Resort Koh Chang in Chiang Mai that mentioned ‘slave labor, xenophobic comments against hotel staff, and comparing the hotel to coronavirus on multiple occasions on website platforms’ 

    The lawsuit against Barnes was dropped in October 2020 after he issued a ‘sincere apology’ in which he retracted his initial review entirely. 

    ‘All of the statements that I made are completely untrue,’ wrote Barnes in a statement. ‘These reviews and comments were written out of anger and malice. 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’.

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