A bad review on TripAdvisor and – You're fired!
Tuesday, 9th October 2012
Source : Chris Emmins
Man employed for 14 years at Sheraton Hotel claims he was fired after bosses read an anonymous review alleging dishonesty.

Fred Keeler has sought the help of internet reputation company KwikChex after being fired from his job as a barman at the Four Points Sheraton Philadelphia (NorthEast).

He has told KwikChex that after the review appeared, he was called in for an interview, and though he categorically denied the allegations, still had his employment terminated a few days later.

The review, which was scathing about the hotel and described the one night stay there as "the longest hell enduring night" went on to say that the only good thing about the place was the bartender 'Fred' - because he allegedly told the reviewer that "for a $20 tip, he would give him open tap all night"  That, says Fred Keeler, cost him the job he loved after 14 years of loyal service.

Review deleted after KwikChex starts investigation

The review was deleted shortly after KwikChex began their investigation - normally a sure sign of a fake review - but of course that is no consolation for Fred Keeler, who would dearly love to get his old job back. Fred says that the hotel claimed to have emailed the reviewer (although contact with reviewers can only be made via the TripAdvisor message system), but they wouldn't say if they got a reply.

He has confirmed to KwikChex that he is willing to go to court and swear under oath that he never made such an offer to any customer. He also says that he even suspects who the author of the review was - not a hotel customer at all.

Fred has asked KwikChex to help him get justice for the losses and distress he has suffered - and wants to go public to highlight the problems that can be caused by anonymous online comments and to stop such abuse happening to others in the future.

Additional notes:

Although the review was deleted, KwikChex has a copy for publication purposes. TripAdvisor refused to remove the review when contacted by Fred Keeler. The subsequent removal would therefore have to be requested by either the hotel or the author.

In over half the cases KwikChex deals with, reviews are deleted shortly after KwikChex makes contact with authors - (the remaining ones are dealt with by taking actions directly with the owners of the websites that publish the comments.)

Authors can often be traced by accessing details of the origin of the review, including various 'digital footprints' including IP addresses.

Reviews on the hotel are mixed, but there are a number of severe negative examples:
  • "Police activity, staff affairs, and sesame place specials"
  • "The worst!"
  • "Found a bed bug in my room 426 lost power in room 620"
The General Manager at the time of Fred Keeler's dismissal, Darrin Frowery, has since been replaced. Initial enquiries by KwikChex were answered by the new GM, Dan Williams, who stated that he could not comment on the case.

In July, writing for the Seattle Times, journalist Christopher Elliott highlighted other problems with reviews (this time glowing) on another Sheraton Hotel in Baltimore, which were also removed after an investigation.

For further information, including a copy of the review in question and contact details for Fred Keeler, please contact info@kwikchex.com

Chris Emmins
Co-Founder, KwikChex.com
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