January 20, 2018

Woman claims hotel charged her $350 for bad review

21 December 2017, 01:09 | Frank Carlson

Customer charged $350 after leaving negative review for hotel, lawsuit alleges

Hotel charges Indiana couple $350 for bad review

Katrina Arthur stayed at the Abbey Inn and Suites in 2016 and wrote a review online complaining about the hotel's conditions.

The lawsuit reportedly states the Abbey Inn had a policy which allowed them to charge customers the fee for poor reviews, which the state of IN alleges violated the state's Deceptive Consumer Sales Act which aims to modify "deceptive and unconscionable consumer sales practices".

Mrs Arthur told ABC News their stay "was a nightmare because the room smelled like sewage, the water pressure was lacking and the air conditioner didn't work". Call 6 reports that when they tried to contact the front desk, the number rerouted to "a lawyer's or something weird like that", according to Arthur. "You could tell the people that maybe had stayed before us had left their items, there was like used shampoos, used soaps".

So when the hotel asked her for an online review - she didn't hold back.

Mrs Arthur said she never received any paperwork, but just wants her $450 back.

After posting the review, Arthur said the hotel charged her $350 and she received a letter from the hotel's attorney threatening legal action.

Katrina Arthur claims she was fined $450 for leaving a negative review for the Abbey Inn. Source NBC4
Katrina Arthur claims she was fined $450 for leaving a negative review for the Abbey Inn. Source NBC4

"The beds, the linen and everything looked like it had been used and dirty", said Arthur. As any disgruntled vacation-goer would, Arthur channeled her inner angry Yelp reviewer and went to town on the establishment.

Since word got out about the $350 "bad review charge", the Indiana Attorney General's office is now suing the hotel company for not properly informing its guests of the bad reviews charge.

"Guests agree that if guests find any problems with our accommodations, and fail to provide us the opportunity to address those problems while the guest is with us, and/or refuses our exclusive remedy, but then disparages us in any public manner, we will be entitled to charge their credit card an additional $350 damage", the policy reportedly read. "There's nothing wrong with being truthful". The lawsuit also stated that the hotel did not provide physical copies of the policy to customers and didn't post it in public areas.

Consumers should not be afraid to leave a negative review of a business if warranted.

It was then revealed that the Inn had a policy which essentially gave the company the right to penalize guests who left negative reviews about the facility.

Congress passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act in December 2016, and it was signed into law by the president, making it illegal to ban honest reviews, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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