In this hotel, the customer is always wrong.
Welcome to the historic Union Street Guest House in New York! Where every bad review someone in your party writes online costs you $500. After all, why rely on good service to get good reviews when you can just opt for intimidation tactics instead?
Don’t believe us? Just look at this little gem tucked into the hotel’s snobbery-laden fine print:
“If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event. 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.”
For. Each. Negative. Review. Five hundred bucks.
The Union Street Guest House advertises itself as a popular venue for weddings and gatherings, where people generally bring very large groups of people. It’s hard to imagine the kind of apocalyptic tabs that could build up under a policy like this, or how it could possibly even be legal.
Not surprisingly, this has caused some major backlash. Only 14 reviews had been posted to the hotel’s Yelp page before the New York Post first reported on the story yesterday. But since word got out, the page has been flooded with over 700 new reviews (almost all 1 star), and it now sits at a 1.5/5 rating.
Looks like the hotel has some fines to dish out.
The company has since removed the controversial blurb from its terms and conditions page, and even tried to laugh the whole thing off as a joke:
“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced,” the hotel wrote in an email to CNBC.
But thanks to archive.org, you can still see the original policy right here. You’ll notice there’s absolutely nothing to indicate that it’s a joke, and it’s even written next to all of its other polices.
Nice try though.
Now, without further adieu, here’s what some of the reviewers on Yelp had to say:
Ah, the lap of luxury.