Think that writing a fake review isn't going to come back to haunt you? Think again.
In July 2013, a reviewer who went by the pseudonym The Clarifier ripped Loiseau Des Ducs restaurant in Dijon, central France on Pages Jeunes, a business directory site that also features attraction ratings and reviews. The post described the high-end restaurant as: "Very over-rated, it was all show, there was very little on the plate, and the only thing that was well loaded was the bill,” according to The Local.
The only problem was that restaurant hadn't even officially opened.
Group director Ahlame Buisard said the company was not against real customers expressing positive or negative opinions, but said that the fake review was a point of principle.
They spent 5,000 euros (over $5,400) to track down the reviewer and ultimately took the person, who was not named, to court.
This week, the court ruled that the review--that was written 5 days before the restaurant opened-- couldn't have been based on a real experience and that the harsh critique was meant to deter future customers, reports Dijon’s Bien Public.
The reviewer had been fined 2,500 euros in damages plus the restaurant’s costs for tracking him down—a total of 7,500 euros or $8,200.
Loiseau des Ducs received its Michelin star in Feb. 2014.