A hotel in Hudson, N.Y., is under fire for attempting to charge guests a $500 fee if anyone in their party left a negative online review.
The policy may not have made Union Street Guest House any money, but it did earn them a 1.5-star rating on Yelp and hundreds of reviews warning potential visitors to steer clear. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.
The relevant section has now been removed from the Union Street Guest House website, but Page Six reports it used to read:
"Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not," reads an 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."
Owner/manager Chris Wagoner, who is also a local politician, responded that the rule was "put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago" and was meant to be taken down and was never enforced.
But a Yelp review from last year seems to contradict that. Updating a previous negative review about Union Street's accomodations, Rabih Z. wrote:
The management of this hotel had the gall to email us twice to threaten us financially about the negative review! Here is an excerpt from their first email:
"please note that your recent on-line review of our Inn will cost the wedding party that left us a deposit $500. This money be charged via the deposit they have left us unless/until it is removed. Any other or future reviews will also be charged to the wedding party (bride & groom) from the guarantee they have provided us. "
He didn't follow up to say whether the hotel actually went through with the coercive fee, but his 1-star review still stands, along with hundreds of new ones from people outraged about the policy.
For now, anyway. Hell hath no fury like the Yelp elite scorned.