Originally published August 7 2014
NY hotel fines guests $500 for posting negative reviews on Yelp
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Most Americans know that the cost of a wedding can be very high, but one hotel has found a way to extract even more cash from wedding guests.
As reported by the New York Post, the Union Street Guest House, located in Hudson, New York, fines couples $500 for every single negative review posted online - and on any website - by one of their guests.
You can't make this stuff up.
But that's not all. The hotel will also fine you $500 if you're staying there to attend a wedding at a different venue in the area, and then leave a negative review regarding your stay.
Write a bad review, pay for it
The Post reports that the hotel is an estate built originally by old money: the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers. It has a policy on its website that states:
Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not.
If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event. If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.
The hotel agrees to give you back your money if the negative review is taken offline.
At present, the Union Street Guest House's Yelp page is currently full of one-star reviews, most of them blasting the hotel either for "terrible service" and using intimidation to deter bad comments instead of fixing policies to meet guests' needs. And many have simply signed on to complain about the hotel's $500 policies.
'Whatever you do, don't cancel!
"Just spent several seconds of my busy day remembering my Yelp password so I could add my voice to the chorus of those outraged by such a ridiculous policy," wrote Riley H. from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "Thank goodness for the internet and sites like Yelp. In the olden days many more guests would have been abused by this business before word would get out."
Says Johnny M. from The Strip in Las Vegas: "Shame on you for enacting such a disgusting policy: charging customers (including wedding parties) $500 for each negative review on Yelp. If you want good reviews, provide good service. Full stop."
And, writes Victoria L. from Savannah, Georgia: "Congratulations!! You just made thedailynews, for having the worst business policy. ??May I remind you, your customers are the ones that put food on your table. So, do not bite the hand the feeds you. Also, you will experience a lot of negative reviews from people who have never checked in due to the bad publicity."
What's worse is that no one in the media has been able to get anyone from the hotel on the phone to comment on the record about the policy.
It's one thing for hotels to have cancellation policies that seek to deter guests from cancelling just a few hours or a couple days away from their scheduled stay, or for large urban hotels to charge for services like parking; but to charge someone five hundred dollars because someone else wrote a bad review is just over-the-top, and apparently we aren't the only ones who think so.
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