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French food 'critic' fined €7,500 for fake review

The Local · 28 Oct 2015, 12:14

Published: 28 Oct 2015 12:14 GMT+01:00

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"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."
It's a harsh review for any restaurant, let alone for the Michelin starred Loiseau Des Ducs in Dijon, central France. 
But that's exactly what was posted on Pages Jeunes, a business directory site in France which also features TripAdvisor-style reviews.
Fake reviews are often hard to spot but in this case it was made easy due to the fact that online criticism was left five days before the restaurant had officially opened for the season, revealed local newspaper Bien Public.
Deeming the words to be detrimental to their business and "potential dissuasive for customers", restaurant owners paid out €5,000 to track down the phony reviewer.

(A dish from The Loiseau Des Ducs in Dijon. Photo: Loiseau Des Ducs)
When they were tracked down and hauled before a court judges decided that the fake reviewer should pay €2,500 in damages as well as the restaurants costs for tracking them down. 
It remains unclear exactly why the critic chose to single out the restaurant for the scathing review. 
Restaurant reviewers have been hit hard in the wallet in the past in France. Last year, a blogger was fined €2,500 after her review was deemed to have crossed the line from criticism to insult. 
Story continues below…
She had called the waitress a "harpy", wrote that the owner "took herself for a diva", and that the restaurant was the one place in the town to avoid. 

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