Many, many Owners are unfortunately seeing the "flip-side" of Social Media advertising this season & unfortunately Als Van has now fallen victim to this too. ETK have put together a quick guide on how to deal with the pitfalls of Social Media Advertising!
Of course, some will argue that there is the right of "freedom of speech" on Social Media networks - however, "ALL public sites are still governed by UK law".
ETK stresses that should a disagreement, or grievance arise between Guest & Owner - this should always be dealt with privately & confidentially between the two parties & never "aired" over Social Media. Sadly this is not always the case. Sometimes "complaints" are warranted, but recently for the most: have been found to be completely fictitious.
Recently an Owner was accused of being a "scammer" when in reality, the "Guest" concerned hadn't actually paid a penny for the "booking" - therefore the booking was non-exsistant to begin with. But the Owner's details were being publicly published as a "scammer."
In Als Van's case - a fictitious profile was created & derogatory remarks made. This was reported to & deleted by the Social Media site involved.... so another fictitious profile appeared, using Al's Van details + photographs (obviously without permission) & again derogatory comments made. The stupidity of this action, is that there are not even any current "disputes" between the Owner & any guest.
So what can you do about it?
- Step one is obviously to ask the Social Media site to remove the post / comments / profile etc - but sometimes they don't make this an easy process.....
- Step two, if you can - is to contact the person making the comments & offer an opportunity to recify their issues in private. Again - sometimes not a terribly successful option.
- Step three is drastic, but usually works:
All comments made on Social Media sites are governed by current UK law - namely in the above cases - The Defamatory Act 2013. The law states that:
"Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person, or hinders a person's business is contrary to The Defamatory Act 2013."
So - you can quote the Act & publicly ask for the derogatory comments to be removed, with the alternative option being that the matter is reported to the Police.
- Remember to stay calm! There's no point in getting upset or angry at stupid comments made that will soon be forgotten about, (today's news is tomorrow's fish & chip wrappers, remember!) If you are an honest Owner, other Owners will practically leap to your defence as soon as the comments are spotted, (which they usually are pretty quickly), & they are usually quashed before anything else can happen.
- Never retaliate by being rude, offensive, or swearing on public posts! All that will do is re-enforce whatever has been posted against you. Always stay calm & professional in your response (if you get the chance to respond, of course) & be seen to be the "better person" - regardless of circumstances.
Having said that - Guests also need to remember the damage that can be caused by what may seem to be a "flippant" comment. Owners work very hard at building a good reputation, which can be damaged by just one silly post.
In general - unless there are major frequent problems with your rentals in general - any comments made will be forgotten about as quickly as they arose, so don't panic if (when) this happens to you. Life goes on .... & no-one can please everyone all the time. Carry on with your advertising & remember that there is always one bad apple at the bottom of that basket, but plenty of good ones on top!
ETK are always here for any support or advice.