Couple Fined $156 by Hotel for Bad Review on Trip Advisor
Customer reviews play a strong part in whether or not I buy a product or visit a location on holiday. These reviews provide me with a non-biased opinion that lets me know what I should expect and whether or not I’d be getting good value for money.
However, if you’re looking for reviews of the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, UK, then you may be out of luck. A couple have been “fined” £100 ($156) for leaving a bad review on travel review website Trip Advisor.
Unimpressed with their stay at the hotel, the UK couple left a negative review describing the hotel as a “rotten stinking hovel” blissfully unaware of the impending charges. In the hotels policy it states that “For every bad review left on any website, the group organizer will be charged a maximum £100 per review”. The couple realized this when they discovered that their credit card had been charged.
The UK trading standards are investigating this possible breach of unfair trading practice regulations. John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said it was a “novel” way to prevent bad reviews.
“I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this. The hotel management clearly thinks that they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice.”
Hopefully there aren’t other hotels that are copying this practice. Customers should be free to express their opinions of the service they’re getting as other customers such as myself depend on it. Perhaps the hotel manager should focus more on the substance of the reviews, rather than how to stop customers from posting them. Maybe they’ll realize that the $156 fine isn’t worth the bad publicity for the hotel, because now the entire country knows their property is a “rotten stinking hovel”.