Deli owners speak out about seven-year hate campaign
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Deli owners who say they have been targeted by hateful and fake comments online for years have now had abusive notes left outside their shop.
Mark and Rosie Kacary say online trolling and poisonous reviews began soon after they opened the Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton around eight years ago.
The latest messages include 'voted worst deli in Norfolk' and 'go back to London'.
"This is some pathetic attempt to hound us out of town," said Mr Kacary, whose business on Greevegate has won a clutch of awards and champions Norfolk produce.
"Seven and a half years we've had this, although it's the first time it's been silly little notes. Most of it's been on Tripadvisor."
"Or Twitadvisor," said Mrs Kacary, "because only twits use it."
Fake reviews have included a person who claimed to have found a fly in their sandwich, and another who claimed they had seen the couple sneezing over their olives. Fake allegations have also been made to West Norfolk council's environmental health department.
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Mr Kacary said: "They did that to the point we no longer even look on Tripadvisor, we don't care what anyone says there.
"When you put your body and soul into a business, you wonder 'who could that have been', 'who could I have said that to'?
"Then it dawned on us this isn't actually real, this is fake, then it kind of washes over you."
Many of the reviews have been left by new accounts as their first posting.
He said while they do not know who has been posting the messages, they appear to be from somebody local.
Mr Kacary has put the latest messages on display in his shop window, with a sign asking: "Is this your work?
"Spelling much improved compared to the numerous spelling mistakes in your online trolling."
Tripadvisor has previously come under fire for not doing enough to tackle fake reviews, though the platform has previously pointed out only a small proportion of posts are fake - just 2.1pc in 2018.