American faces prison after posting negative review of a hotel in Thailand

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By RADIO.COM

Posting a negative review on Tripadvisor landed one American man in hot water after his trip.

Wesley Barnes has been sued and is facing up to two years in prison after leaving a bad review following his stay at an island resort in Thailand, according to Insider.com.

The owner of the Sea View Resort on Thailand's Koh Chang Island filed a complaint against the man accusing him of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel,” CBS News reports.

The publication notes that Barnes lives and works in Thailand.

"The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the Tripadvisor website," Colonel Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police said.

Following his stay, Barnes left a one-star review titled "Unfriendly staff and horrible restaurant manager."

The review, which is still up on Tripadvisor, notes: "Unfriendly staff, no one ever smiles. They act like they don't want anyone there. The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests. Find another place. There are plenty with nicer staff that are happy you are staying with them.”

However, the resort’s room division manager, Tom Storup, has a slightly different recollection of Barnes’ stay, which he detailed in a response on the travel review site.

“We think it is very unfair for that you have chosen to try to give a very negative image of our wonderful resort and our very friendly staff so we would like to shed some light on what made you go this far,” Storup began, adding that Barnes refused to pay a corkage fee for bringing his own alcohol to a restaurant.

“It was to our surprise that even after all the disruption you caused and our gesture of allowing you to drink your own bottle of liquor at our restaurant you still decided to write negative reviews on all possible review sites,” Storup added.

Tripadvisor has temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for the hotel “due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience.”

According to The Telegraph, Barnes reportedly left several bad reviews and is said to have accused the hotel of “modern-day slavery” in a now-deleted post.

In a statement to the outlet, the hotel explained their decision to file a complaint against the guest. "We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future," they wrote.

Thailand has strict anti-defamation laws that could lead to a maximum sentence of two years in prison or fines upwards of $6,000.

Barnes was arrested by immigration police but has been released on bail.

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