Many businesses, like the Union Street Guest House, wants to make sure its reputation isn’t diminished by negative reviews on the Internet. To prevent them, it’s now charging hotel guests an extra $500 for every negative review they publish online, reports the New York Post.
Interestingly, it looks like the policy applies to those who are part of a larger group that is at the venue for an event, including weddings. “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” reads the venue’s online policy. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event … and given us a deposit of any kind … there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review … placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party.”
Yelp on Monday issued a statement noting that it frowns on such intimidation tactics.
“Trying to prevent your customers from talking about their experiences is bad policy and, in this case, likely unenforceable anyway,” the company said — a sentiment quickly echoed by hotel-reviews site Trip Advisor.
“It is completely against the spirit and policies of our site for any business owner to attempt to bully or intimidate reviewers who have had a negative experience.”
If the negative review is taken down, you get your deposit back. Unsurprisingly, many have taken to Yelp to protest the Union Street Guest House’s review policy, with the venue’s page currently filled with one-star reviews.
“Guess what? You’ve earned another one star review for your despicable censorship policy regarding negative reviews. How’s this working out for you,” reads one one-star review. “Unacceptable policy of not allowing objective review of their hotel (cost $500 per bad review!). You can’t insulate yourself from bad service, you can only respond to it,” reads another review.
Angry Internet users have also filled the Yelp page with jokingly bad looking images, meant to discourage anyone from booking at the hotel, including shots of dilapidated buildings, obese people eating cake, and scenes from The Shining.
Interestingly, it looks like the venue quietly took down the policy from its Events & Weddings page, likely as a result of the backlash. Wise move on its part.