A couple were “fined” £100 by a Blackpool hotel after they wrote an internet review describing it as a “rotten stinking hovel run by muppets”.
Tony and Jan Jenkinson stayed at the Broadway Hotel in August and were so disappointed with their accommodation that they took to TripAdvisor to share their experience.
The couple later found their credit card had been charged £100, with the hotel stating its policy was to charge for “bad” reviews.
The policy, included in a booking document, reportedly says: “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 organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review”.
But Blackpool Council has now said it understands the hotel will refund the couple’s money and scrap the policy.
Councillor Gillian Campbell, cabinet member responsible for public protection, said the council had spoken to the hotel owner and asked for the policy to be removed.
She added: “This is a unique case and not one that we have come across before. It is worth remembering that the vast majority of hotels in Blackpool are reputable and provide a good customer service to tourists who visit the resort.”
Mr and Mrs Jenkinson, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, had written that the hot tap and kettle in their room did not work, the drawer fronts fell off and there was no phone.
They said they were told by hotel staff that the room was wired incorrectly but the hotel could not afford to put it right.
They added: “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, the base was all scuffed and dirty and the springs in the mattress attacked you in the night.
“The curtains were tattered and filthy, there were polystyrene tiles on the ceiling which are a fire hazard.”
At the end of the review, they advised others to stay away, adding: “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!!
The Wilkinsons were not the only ones to find the Broadway Hotel falling well short of par, with it being rated 858 out of 894 hotels in Blackpool on TripAdvisor, and more than half of reviews rating it as “terrible”.
One review, posted by Jeanette M in November, said staff were “drinking cans of strongbow while serving breakfast”, while Jessica of Sheffield described mouse dropping-stained carpet and a net curtain “brown in muck” and concluded that “prison would be better”.
When HotelsBookie.COM contacted the hotel, nobody was answering phone calls.
Tripadvisor spokesman James Kay said: “It is completely against the spirit and policies of our site for any business owner to attempt to bully or intimidate reviewers who have had a negative experience.”
He added: “Where we find evidence of a business doing so, we will take action to protect the integrity of our site.”