09/20/2013 08:58 EDT | Updated 11/20/2013 05:12 EST

Yelp sues Vancouver man for fake reviews

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.

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.