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This Hotel Will Charge You $500 for Writing a Negative Review

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 345-349 Union Street [map], Hudson , NY, United States, 12534
August 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | ()

UPDATE: The hotel told CNBC the policy was a joke and "It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced." We say, "That's convenient."

UPDATE, 8.6.14: The owner has posted this apology and update on the hotel's Facebook page. While the negative review policy may have been a joke gone wrong, the hotel still has a bunch of other ridiculous policies. Be sure to read those in our story below.

Hotels have been striking back at online guests reviews over the past few years in various ways. The most popular and most sensible way is the constant responding of management to all reviews--good and bad (so long as you aren't a dick about it.) Then, there's the requesting of really bad reviews to be removed from the site, which TripAdvisor has agreed to recently, especially if the property has been renovated since the negative note. Hotels have also gone straight to the guests, bribing them offering them perks during their stay or discounts for future stays if they write a positive review.

But this one hotel in Hudson, New York now has the audacity to charge wedding guests $500 for writing a negative review. Here's the controversial policy in place at the Union Street Guest House:

"There will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH place on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding even 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 policy is in effect for wedding guests in the area and wedding parties at the Inn, not regular guests (although this a strange distinction to make.) The hotel will also refund the $500 if the review is taken down.

Um, yeah, well now that this policy is being condemned on the news, we can safely say this has back fired for the hotel.

Looking through the rest of their policies, it seems like this hotel was burned badly by a few bad wedding guests/parties and is now taking no chances of it happening again.

However, as tempted as we might be to try a charming historic inn in the Hudson River Valley, the policies of the guest house for regular guests are also a turn-off.

Here's what else you should know about staying at the Union Street Guest House. Brace yourselves.

· "We only accept cancellations via email and you must receive a response from us in order for you to have an approved cancellation. "

· "There will be a $35 charge for any cancellation (per room). Cancellation of a reservation must be made at least 15 days prior to your arrival date for a non wedding reservation to receive any type of refund. "

· "We do not give credits for future stays. If we have not worked out a mutual agreement for a credit within 29 days from the date or your reservation we will no longer honor any type of refund. We do not refund any fees that may have been added to your charge."

· "Payment may be made in cash, check, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Please note that quoted rates do not reflect sales tax and handling fees which will be added at the time of payment."

· "We are not responsible for left, lost or stolen Items. If you leave something in your room we will do our best to recover it for you. However, due to our small staff, we do not guarantee when or if it will indeed be returned. If you need the left item right away we recommend that you call a shipping company and have them pick it up from us. Please call us ahead so that it will be ready for pick-up."

· "Please ask us before you make your reservation if you have a question about a gift card. We only honor certain gift cards and at certain times/days of the year. We do not accept gift cards or gift certificates without prior notification. You will be charged up front per a regular reservation and refunded when you present your card or certificate upon arrival."

[Photo: Union Street Guest House/Facebook]

Archived Comments:

is this legal?

Serious question - can it be legal? You guys must have fair comment in the USA right?

Based on...

Based on the list of other policies, I sincerely doubt that this $500 fee was a "joke".

Regardless, aren't jokes supposed to be funny? The only people that might find this funny would be other hoteliers. Obviously, that sort of "insider" joke shouldn't be posted on a public web page. No one outside of the industry would think this is funny.