Most service providers would love to avoid negative reviews where they can but at least one might have gone too far. 

Australia's equivalent of the Commerce Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has filed proceedings against serviced apartment operator Meriton saying it manipulated online reviews of its apartments.

Accommodation providers can use TripAdvisors Review Express product and give the information of consenting guests directly to TripAdvisor. The guest is then contacted by TripAdvisor to place a review.

The ACCC alleges that Meriton engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by manipulating which guests had their information passed on to TripAdvisor. The ACCC says Meriton did this by intentionally giving incorrect information to TripAdvisor if it suspected that a guest might leave a negative review, giving Meriton an improved rate of favourable reviews.

Online review sites are great for consumers when they are an honest representation of the kind of service they can expect. We will follow this Australian Federal Court proceeding with interest.