Customer review website, Yelp, is suing an unknown person in North Vancouver who it says is creating, and making a profit from posting fake reviews for businesses. 

The California-based company allows anyone to write an online review describing their personal experiences with businesses.

While Yelp does not know the name of the person, it claims the defendant uses several different Hotmail email addresses and goes by the aliases James McNulty, jon tom and bill mads. 


FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2011 file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's new Manhattan offices in New York. Online reviews site Yelp is expected to price its initial public offering of stock on Thursday , March 1, 2012, and become the latest in a long line of social websites going public. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) (Kathy Willens/AP Photo)

In a civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday by Vancouver lawyer Dan Burnett, the company alleges the unknown person — who it calls John Doe — composed and posted fake good reviews of businesses in exchange for unspecified amounts of money from the businesses.

It also alleges that not only did Doe pay other people to compose and post other fake reviews, but also that Doe has threatened to create further fake reviews unless Yelp paid Doe money.

As a result, Yelp is suing for nuisance and violation of the Competition Act and alleges it has suffered and continues to suffer loss and damage since it says its “business relies on the integrity of the [c]ustomer [r]eviews so that people have confidence in using [it] to evaluate local businesses.”

The company is seeking an order for Shaw to turn over the user's name and address.

None of the allegations have been proven. 

With files from the CBC's Matthew Lazin-Ryder and Jason Proctor