Monday, August 04, 2014

Your Turn

A hotel in New York fines guests $500 for every negative review they post to Yelp. If a couple has a wedding and leaves a deposit, the hotel takes $500 from that deposit every time someone in the wedding party leaves a negative review on Yelp about any service at the hotel. Do you agree with this or not?

60 comments:

Cecilia00 said...

Uh, which hotel so I can never stay there??

Sugar said...

How is that even legal?

sandybrook said...

Try and collect it.

Simon said...

I would never, ever agree to that. The service must suck if that's their policy. If not, they wouldn't need to do this.

CoBe said...

No legal way to enforce that. The couple can't control the actions of their guests.

DoctahRivenIsAHasBeen said...

...That's why you wait until all transactions are completed before leaving a negative review anywhere. Then it becomes an illegal and fraudulent credit card transaction as opposed to a dispute on the bill or deposit.

All Lace no Leather said...

I absolutely do not agree. If you can't take the negative feedback, get out of the industry.

If this story is even true, this hotel is going to get a backlash of bad press.

DoctahRivenIsAHasBeen said...

(Not to say I think the hotel has the right, FTR I do not, but that if they complete the financials before giving any review the hotel cannot charge the credit card again)

Freya said...

A blogger was fined for posting a negative restaurant on her own blog. Because the review was so high in the Google searches, the owner lost business so he sued and won! That's ridiculous.

AngelBear said...

It is apparently Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York:
http://www.businessinsider.com/hotel-fines-brides-for-negative-yelp-reviews-2014-8

LoooongTimeLurker said...

Yes.. It is far to easy for someone to seriously harm a business that may not deserve it.. Most reputable businesses will make it right if the complaint is made to the management. Yelp should be a last resort if they have exhausted other REASONABLE avenues.

StewMcG said...

It's the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY. The owners are now claiming that the $500 thing was a "joke" but (1) they took the policy off their website a little while ago and (2) if you read some of the Yelp reviews dated before today, there's mention of people having been charged because of it.

I definitely don't agree with it. If you don't want negative reviews, improve your customer service. If someone still leaves one, attempt to work with them and see if you can resolve the issue and the customer removes it.

http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/04/new-york-hotel-fines-guests-500-for-bad-reviews-on-yelp/

derek harvey said...

That is crazy but I do feel bad for a business like Amys Baking Company where people who have never even been there troll review sites and make up stories

MISCH said...

NO

Eros said...

I sure hope they have that in the legal clause in the documents that no one reads yet signs everytime they check into a hotel. If its not a legal clause in some signed document by the customer, boy oh boy is it time to sue.

fancyscreenname said...

this is a hard one. both sides can be victim or aggressor.

Renoblondee said...

Well do the guests know this before hand?

Susan Bahns said...

no fuck them

JSierra said...

I like this review from Seth J in Austin, TX:

"Imagine yourself shrunk down to the size of a catapillar walking on the rim of a porta-potty toilet seat. You fall into the fecal pit, and are thrashing about in a giant cesspool of urine and poo. You feel like you are going to drown, until you bump into a floating toddler's diaper thrown into the porta-potty by a negligent parent who ignored the sign asking that diapers not be thrown into the porta-potty. You use your remaining strength to lift your grimy carcass up onto the diaper. The diaper has been floating in the putrid pool for a few days and has become saturated by the surrounding fluid in addition to the baby poop entombed at its core. As you lay gasping on the disposable gauze and nylon bundle, you realize that the entire side of your body that is in contact with the diaper surface is being exposed to its absorbed effluent.

Although you don't know how you will escape this peril, you take comfort in knowing that by laying on top of this floating diaper, you have reduced your exposure to human waste. While bobbing around in the cesspool, your entire body was exposed to the fluid. Now it's just the bottom part that's in contact with the diaper surface.

And that's what it's like staying at the Union Street Guest House. It's the bobbing diaper floating in the belly of a porta-potty."

Their Yelp page is about to overflow with negative reviews from neckbeards who just want to fuck with the them.

__-__=__ said...

I never do a negative review unless I can back it up with pictures. Even then I just talk about the pictures. They can't do anything. You have to be careful reading reviews. You have to read between the lines carefully. Most people know not to leave horrible things online. You just rate low. OT: Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes on AMA now!

Jessi said...

Wow that's pretty extreme, but I understand both sides. Now days anyone with half a brain can write a review. How does one know that this isn't a made up review? Also I think someone said above, if you feel your experience was so horrible why not complain to the management instead of badmouthing via internet. Then again, its pretty shitty to have the hotel charge you for something that they don't agree with.

rajahcat said...

hell to the no

free speech should be free $$$$$

Eros said...

I love ama but im rather nerdy so im usually in the science reddits. You learn so much there.

JSierra said...

Bonus snazzy cancellation policy:

CANCEL AT YOUR OWN RISK
"We only accept cancellations via email and you must receive a response from us in order for you to have an approved cancellation. If we approve your cancelation VIA EMAIL make sure and read our refund policy below.

NOTE: If your stay is longer than 3 days we do not accept cancelations of any kind." *spelling mistake theirs, not mine*

Try not to leave belongings either: "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."

Eros said...

Another thing arent they aware that not everyone leaving a yelp review doesnt use their given name. I use an email addy for my login, for example. Its just a dumb idea on the hotel's part

supapimp said...

Yelp bukkake go!

Jonathan Andrew Sheen said...

I'm pretty sure that's a form of coercion that makes the hotel liable to prosecution.

Lady Heisenberg said...

Why can't business owners all just respond to trolls on yelp like THIS?! (Love everything about that clicky link).

This is totally illegal and violates free speech. It's no different than saying that I'm going to mark down a student's grade if I don't like the evaluation they write about me.

crila16 said...

Which hotel? I work in midtown, and I'm always putting people at hotels around here. I'm assuming it's got to be one of the bigger hotel, if people are having weddings there.

...and no. I completely disagree with it and it should be illegal. It's freedom of speech.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

It's just stupid. Anybody fined $500 is going to get their money's worth flaming the hotel and those flames are going to be out there in perpetuity for any potential future customer to read.

Seriously if you're planning a wedding reception are you going to go there, and risk having to pay $500 if Cousin Tony gets drunk and tweets bad stuff about them, or are you going to go someplace else?

This hotel should focus on building a fabulous business with great customer service.

And now that their name is out there, the negative publicity is going to be MUCH worse than customers' bad reviews.

This is bad business on such an epic scale, if there were a Hall of Fame of stupid business decisions, this hotel would be in it.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

Apparently this story has gone viral and the Union Street Guest House in Hudson NY now has an average one star rating on Yelp from 605 "customers."

That's:

1-star: 580
2-star: 10
3-star: 3
4-star: 6
5-star: 15

Almost all of them are from today. And that doesn't include 282 other filtered 1-star reviews.

Hall of Fame, people!

D Brown said...

How do you define a "negative" review? If there is a bedbug in the bed then is reporting that a "negative review" or simply a statement of fact.

Goober said...

I've worked in the hospitality industry (yes, that's really what we call it) for over 30 years. Currently, I work with groups finding venues for their meetings and events. So I work with contracts, multiple hotel searches, venue selection, etc. everyday. I can PROMISE you that this is NOT legal and anyone who pays it is a fool. Fortunately, $500 is a low amount that can be recovered easily recovered in small claims court. But, thankfully I can add this hotel to our "do not use" list. That's 1,200+ group travel consultants around the world that will know not to put a group in this pit.

Lady Heisenberg said...

Prunella: yup. All they really accomplished was cranking open the troll floodgates. Don't fuck wid the internet. How do they like them apples now?

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

@Lady H - I almost feel sorry for them.

Count Jerkula said...

Canada gives out free abortions? That is awesome!

StewMcG said...

@crila, it's up in Hudson (Columbia County.)

Lady Heisenberg said...

LOL @count
I posted this for you yesterday btw
--------------------------
@Count: I am sorry to keep bugging you, but you simply must check out THIS amahzing headline...

Count Jerkula said...

Nice Lady H. I would definitely bang her rear up, but I wouldn't damage anything. She just wouldn't shit right for a week.

Trilby said...

I read the story in the NY Post (online) this morning, & couldn't believe people that arrogant/stupid were in business. I LOVE that they (predictably) got trolled. I'm going to go pour some iced tea, make some popcorn, & settle in with some Yelp to entertain me! :)

Trilby said...

+ 1 million!! Awesome.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

When I first posted exactly an hour ago they had 605 active reviews and 282 filtered. Now it's 690 active and 366 filtered.

Yup, in the past HOUR they've received another 169 negative reviews.

Wow, they just made $8,450! They're brilliant businessmen! Oh wait...

8====D KermitGossnellKnobjob said...

Never been to yelp. Is that the only site on the web which doesn't allow anonymous reviews?

auntliddy said...

Of course i dont agree. Asswipes.

Groggy said...

They can try to take my $500 from my cold dead hands!

So bad, they will be out of business soon enough so don't anyone go there and give them any money.

Lady Heisenberg said...

Thanks for the updates Prunella! Is 4chan all over this ish today?

Paint Chips said...

I've heard of people getting kicked out of hotels for posting a neg review on yelp and tripadvisor during their stay.

When I post a really bad review I always wait a few weeks and never post with my real name.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

I couldn't resist. I posted a 5-star review and then demanded $500 from the owners or I would sue them.

They are down to 393 reviews and up to 1.5 stars. Some people are posting sardonic 5-star reviews like I did, I guess.

My own review has been removed, I got this email from yelp while I was out just now:

[snip]

Hi,

We're contacting you about your review of Union Street Guest House. Though we understand this business has recently received media attention and that users may have strong opinions, your reviews should be focused on your own everyday customer experience with a business. While you are welcome to post your comments on Yelp Talk, please note that at this time we will be removing any repostings from you to this business listing.

Please visit our Content Guidelines for more information (www.yelp.com/guidelines). We hope you'll help us keep Yelp fun and useful for everyone!

Regards,
Clarence
Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

Yelp Official Blog | http://officialblog.yelp.com
Yelp Frequently Asked Questions | http://www.yelp.com/faq
Yelp for Business Owners | https://biz.yelp.com

[/snip]

You know what? @Paint Chips is absolutely right - if you post using a fake ID the hotel would never be able to trace you or fine the people who reserved the hotel for your group. Their stupid policy was basically unenforceable anyway.

Lawdy this has been fun.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

BTW there was a story a couple of years ago about a woman who was at a bar and live-tweeted that somebody on the staff had been rude to her.

They apparently saw the tweet almost in real time and went over to her and kicked her out!

Now that, I don't object to because it's in the "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" category.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

Here ya go:

Houston tweeter ejected from bar

Sherry said...

Talk about bad business practices. And I don't feel sorry for Amy's bakery. They were architects of their own disaster.

Thanks Prunella for all the good dirt!

I can tell you that business owners will post their own "good" reviews so take a lot of Yelp reviews with a little grain of salt.IF you're seeing wildly opposite reviews. Like a lot of 1's vs 5's. At the very least it shows how inconsistent their service is.

NaughtyNurse said...

What ever happened to a little thing called freedom of speech? Who is this hotel? It needs to be publicized by the NY press.

Lady Heisenberg said...

Update: The hotel is claiming the $500 fine was a joke that could not possibly be enforced...hmmmmm

sugarbread maker said...

Wow place sounds nice

sugarbread maker said...

I laughed Sooo hard at that^^^^!!!

All Lace no Leather said...

I knew someone who worked at a salon in Los Angeles. She was a receptionist. Part of her duties included creating Online profiles and then posting 5 star comments on how wonderful the salon was.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

I somewhat dislike Yelp although I myself have posted over 100 reviews on there. I posted a 3 (with a promise to take it to a 4 if the next experience was better) for a local sandwich shop and the owner declared war on me in his reply. So I changed my review to one star. Then he deleted part of his comment (the part that told me to shave my legs and get laid by a man) ... so I quoted it in my update.

I had a horrible - HORRIBLE - experience with a vendor who was the worst most inept person I'd ever met. I really enjoyed writing my yelp review of him. I stuck to the facts, which were damning, so he couldn't really sue me for libel. I also talked to someone else who had left a short one-star review and her experience was even worse than mine. I hope she used mine in her LAWSUIT.

He didn't have many yelp reviews so I figured mine really hurt. Of course he knows where I live so maybe I was reckless in posting it but I was THAT mad. It's still up.

Oh, and one of his 5-star reviews was from a guy who sounded fake, so I reverse searched and found that the guy was his landscaper. Who I doubt was actually his customer.

My mom was in a nursing home in the "care" of the worst POS doctor I have ever met. This woman was - ugh, I could write 5000 words about how arrogant and incompetent she was. She basically wanted to let my mother die from an undiagnosed urinary tract infection ... and then tried to intimidate me when I insisted that she send her to the ER - where they did a simple blood and urine test, diagnosed the problem and sent her back to the nursing home with antibiotics. She actually yelled at me and said that my mother was just going to go back to the ER in a couple of weeks anyway, so it was cruel to keep her alive, and she had the right to override my wishes anyway.

I wrote a detailed letter to the owner of the nursing home, and every patient advocacy group (private and governmental) that I could find. Then I moved my mother the next day. Who by the way did NOT go back to the ER for another year.

My blood boiled every time I thought about that woman so I went on a doctor review site and gave her the worst possible rating then wrote a VERY detailed chronology of what had happened to my mother in her care. Again, I stuck scrupulously to the facts.

I checked back a year later, she had apparently hired a reputation defender which every couple of weeks would post some 5-star one line review like "an excellent compassionate physician."

The only review that varied from that formula was one that I figured out was written by her son.

So I created a fake persona and pointed all of that out. I also flagged the fake reviews but they're still up. So I figured, fight fire with fire - I created a bunch more fake personae and posted 1-star reviews.

Hell hath no fury like a daughter when you try to MURDER her helpless mother.

Just sayin'.

I still monitor her doctor review page, and probably always will until the old bitch dies. Then I'll piss on her grave.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

PS I also praise people who do a good job - I don't think you could tell that from my post but most of my yelp reviews are positive!

Henriette said...

I would they know and does anyone know what happened to Telonu which turned into Hallway?

I know profs who monitor rateaprofessor and bitch about bad ratings and post positive ones for themselves.

Prunella Buggerweeds said...

As fast as yelp is taking down reviews, people are posting them faster.

As of tonight they have 798 reviews, with 730 filtered. That's a total of 1528 reviews.

At 10:30 Monday morning they "only" had 605 reviews + 282 filtered = 687. And Yelp has removed HUNDREDS of reviews already.

They're going to be taken down sooner or later so I copied a few off-line.

It's hard to pick a favorite but this one gets points for being very short:

What's the difference between Union Street Guest House and a dead prostitute?

Union Street Guest House still sucks.