Eateries blast TripAdvisor blackmail threats

Monica Tjong and husband Gabriele Pirotta at work at their Goji Granola Bar and Cafe at Clear Island Waters. Picture Glenn Hampson
Monica Tjong and husband Gabriele Pirotta at work at their Goji Granola Bar and Cafe at Clear Island Waters. Picture Glenn Hampson

VENUES "blackmailed" with threats of bad reviews from patrons are being urged to fight back by getting them blocked from comment sites.

In an age where online ­criticism can make or break businesses, a Clear Island Waters cafe owner reveals ­operators don't have to put up with unjustified criticism.

Goji Granola Bar & Cafe owner Monica Tjong was threatened with bad reviews on TripAdvisor and Zomato by two female customers unless she gave them cash refunds.

They made the threats well after they left, having had a full breakfast and coffees with no complaints at the time.

After slamming the venue on Facebook, the pair initially said they would accept Ms Tjong's offer of vouchers to come back and give the place a "second chance" but then demanded cash refunds each or they would write bad reviews.

Ms Tjong, who didn't feel they were genuine, checked with a lawyer who advised it fit the definition of "blackmail".

She supplied messages from the patrons to TripAdvisor and Zomato which have a policy against blackmail and the sites blocked the two women.

Some of the fare at Goji Granola Bar and Cafe at Clear Island Waters. Picture Glenn Hampson
Some of the fare at Goji Granola Bar and Cafe at Clear Island Waters. Picture Glenn Hampson


Andrew Meadowcroft, who promotes top city venues Little Truffle, The Collective Palm Beach and QT Gold Coast's Bazaar, is fed up with critics who have had a fine time but wake up hung-over and blast venues online.

On Facebook, he wrote: "Certain women hit social media again and whine about their experience. You ate all your meal, downed bottles of wine, snapped at staff all night.

"The next day you wake up with a hangover and jump on social media and bag everything. Venues have CCTV cameras darlings and while you were rotten drunk at midnight trying to pick up the barman, you looked very happy."

Mr Meadowcroft suggested restaurateurs return fire: "Real estate, massage, artwork, yoga? We can post thoughts about their businesses too.

"These keyboard warriors are silly. They post this crap but can't remember the night."

Mr Meadowcroft said he had been out with people who spent 10 minutes taking photos of their meal for Instagram and then complained it was cold: "Are you kidding? By the time they have taken the right photo, done their tagging and uploaded it, of course it's cold."

Ms Tjong said she had never had a bad review in 18 months since opening.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  customers eateries editors picks tripadvisor

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