An upstate New York hotel’s policy threatening to fine wedding parties for posting negative reviews online sparked massive backlash Monday, leading to hundreds of one-star reviews on sites such as Facebook and Yelp.
The New York Post reports that the Union Street Guest House in Hudson told couples and other people booking large events that they would be charged $500 for each bad review posted by guests after their stays.
The policy was removed from the Union Street Guest House's website Monday, but not before garnering the ire of Yelp and Facebook users, who flocked to the hotel’s pages to post negative reviews.
“They say there is no such thing as bad press. Union Street Guest House will have to let us know if that is true,” wrote one reviewer who rated the hotel one out of five stars. “Next time they should consider treating their guests as guests and not tenants in a rent control.”
Another faux guest gave the hotel a one-star review, writing, “Just spent several seconds of my busy day remembering my Yelp password so I could add my voice to the chorus of those outraged by such a ridiculous policy.”
The hotel said in a statement to CNBC Monday that the fine was meant to be a joke and was never actually enforced.
“The policy concerning the wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago,” the hotel said in a written statement. “It was meant to be taken down a long time ago and was certainly never enforced.”
One Yelp user, Rabith Z., posted a review in November of 2013 that appeared to contradict the Union Street Guest House's statement. The user wrote that the hotel emailed him twice, threatening to fine his wedding party if he didn't delete a negative review.