A British couple says they are still trying to get back their money after a hotel charged their credit card a fine for giving the establishment a bad review on the popular website TripAdvisor.
Tony and Jan Jenkinson said they posted the bad review after a one night stay at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England.
The review, posted in August, called the hotel a “filthy, dirty rotten stinking hovel,” according to the Daily Mail. The couple also posted pictures of the room that depicted crumbling plaster and mildewed and cracked bathroom tiles.
“The wallpaper was peeling off the walls, the carpet was thin, dirty and stained. The bed was something else, it must have come out of the ark,” wrote Tony Jenkinson. “This place should be shut down, I don't know if they are ever inspected, but if so, I don't know how this place has passed!”
Jenkinson told BBC News that a few days after posting the review he found a charge on his credit card statement, from the hotel, for 100 pounds, or about $160. That was in addition to the charge for the room.
When he contacted the hotel, he was told the charge was the result of the couple violating the hotel’s policy against bad reviews.
That policy, according to the booking paperwork reads: “Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organizer will be charged a maximum 100 pounds per review.”
“Annoyed isn't strong enough for how I feel about this, what happened to freedom of speech?” Jenkinson said in an interview. “Everybody we have spoken to says they (the hotel) are not allowed to do this.”
Tom Coglan, who heads up the government agency that regulates trade in the area, said he has worked with the hotel to get the policy removed from their documents.
A hotel representative confirmed that but declined to comment further on the matter.
Tony Jenkinson said he is working with his credit card company to secure a refund for the fine, but has not yet received it.