Hotel Fines Guests £100 For Leaving Bad Review

Well this is quite… interesting. A Blackpool, UK hotel, charged guests £100 after they left a bad review online, claiming it’s their policy. Via The Telegraph:

A couple have been “fined” £100 by a Blackpool hotel they described as a “rotten stinking hovel” on travel review website TripAdvisor.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson posted the negative comments after being unimpressed with the one night they spent at the Broadway Hotel.

The couple, from Whitehaven, later found £100 charged to their credit card. The hotel said its policy was to charge for “bad” reviews.

When the couple queried the surcharge, the hotel’s manager said they had a ‘no bad review policy’ in their terms and conditions.

The policy stated: “Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review”.

How’s the strategy working out for them? Well, on TripAdvisor the Broadway Hotel is ranked #858 of #894 B&B/Inns in Blackpool, so not very well, apparently.

Hotel-Tripadvisor-1

Or if you look at it a different way, I guess it’s a brilliant strategy. I can’t imagine they have very many return guests, so if you can get an extra £100 out of each guest, that seems like a good way to maximize revenue. 😉

Hotel-Tripadvisor-2

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Surely people running hotels aren’t so stupid as to think this actually works? I have to imagine it’s a publicity stunt, something designed to get people talking about the hotel. No one would choose to stay at the hotel based on the online reviews, so they might as well go the route of trying to get people to stay there out of curiosity… no? Or maybe they’re just really old school, don’t embrace the internet, and still think they can control what’s said about them in the world?

Comments

  1. I would hope their credit card company could do a chargeback and defend their cardholders against such a move by the hotel.

    This is absurd; free speech at a cost!

    What’s next? Taxing people who don’t buy health insurance?

  2. Wow, just looked at the reviews of this B$B. The hosts must of made a fortune out of those negative reviews. Should be enough to fix all of those nasty problems the guests pointed out. 🙂

  3. Per BBC story 5 hours ago,

    Blackpool Trading Standards said its officers had now spoken to the hotel’s management team, who have agreed not to levy these fines in the future.

    It also said…

    The couple have sought a refund via their credit card company.

  4. Why didn’t they read these reviews before booking? If they are the type to leave reviews you would think they would have read up on what hotel they are staying at. Second to last out of almost 900 is a pretty crappy place to roll the dice on in the first place.

  5. @John DELTA, really? You’re going to start spouting backwards political commentary on a travel blog? Go hunt or eat possum or something.

  6. @rick b. It was a short funny sentence that is hardly a commentary. Please loosen up your tie, enjoy life, smile once a while. This blog is my favorite. And yes, i drop off some tip for housecleaners.

  7. I thought John’s comment was funny too. Hardly a political rant. Some people really need to lighten up.

  8. This just happened a couple of months ago – Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY and their wedding guests were charged $500 for each negative review. The $500 would be refunded if the review was taken down. Guess they feel their negative reviews are more costly than the hotel in Blackpool.

  9. I would bet it is not a publicity stunt, but rather that the owners are really old school and think they can control what is said about them. So many operators like that in Blackpool, unfortunately.

  10. It was jus a light quip meant to make a person chuckle. BTW, I hunt at Williams-Sonoma’s Seafood Shoppes.

  11. Ben, regardless of how absurd it sounds, I think it’s option number two of the two scenarios that you presented!

    Unfortunately, GOOD customer service is not an universal right or even a standard yet!

  12. I believe the correct political economic term for these folks is fascists………and I rated them accordingly on Trip Advisor and would encourage others to follow suit………..it’s ok to be angry at bullies!

  13. So to clarify:
    Yes the couple did initially dispute the transaction with their credit card company, who refunded it but then on further investigation cancelled the refund.
    They hadn’t checked the reviews of the place prior to going as they were in a hurry to get booked.
    The wife who signed the contract didn’t have her reading glasses on her, so couldn’t see the minutiae of small print.
    It would probably be invalid under the Unfair Contract Terms Act which is why Trading Standards had stepped in.
    The hotel have now refunded the monies to the couple.

  14. I don’t think there is such a thing as a neutral political comment – that would be a contradiction in terms. John’s comment was pretty obnoxious, actually, and has nothing to do with this post. Seems to me he *wanted* people to comment on it and then be all “oh lighten up, it was a joke”.

    It was both remarkably ignorant AND annoying because it injected politics in a place where I can usually avoid it.

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