The woman, Katrina Arthur was charged $350 for posting a negative review about her stay at the Abbey Inn & Suites, located in Nashville, Indiana back in March 2016.
In the review, Arthur mentioned that there was hair and dirt on the sheets along with other issues related to the room’s cleanliness.
The former owner of the Abbey Inn had a policy of charging guests a $350 fee if they posted negative reviews without informing management of the issues during their stay. Yahoo mentioned that, “the Indiana’s attorney general’s office contends that Andrew Szakaly violated the state’s deceptive consumer sales act“.
The state’s suit is looking to get Katrina Arthur the $350 she was charged reimbursed. They’re also looking to get “a court order barring the southern Indiana hotel from maintaining and enforcing such a policy, which it calls “unfair, abusive, and deceptive.”
Arthur says that she was not aware of the hotel’s policy online and also wasn’t given a copy with the info during her stay. She also claims to have tried to complain about the room’s conditions but no employees were around and her calls to an after-hours number were not answered. When she checked out, nobody was even at the front desk.
After the stay, Arthur received an e-mail asking for her to write an online review about the stay. She left a review, detailing the issues she had. In early April 2016, she received an e-mail from Szakaly alleging that her “false statements” hurt the hotel’s business. He also threatened legal action if she didn’t remove the review within a week.
A few days after the e-mail exchange her credit card was charged $350!
Szakaly hasn’t operated the hotel since January 2017 which is when new owners took over the 14 room property.
The current lawsuit is now having an impact on the hotel’s new owners, who don’t have the negative review policy. There’s been threatening phone calls and “trolls have taken over the review sites.”
I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a hotel having a policy to charge guests due to negative reviews. I also can’t imagine how this can be legal. In the end, I hope that Katrina Arthur gets her money back and the hotel’s new owners don’t suffer due to unfair policies implemented by the previous owner.
Find out more from Yahoo here.