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Blackpool hotel fines couple £100 for scathing Tripadvisor review of "rotten stinking hovel"

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The whole point of travel review website Tripadvisor is that you voice your opinion and write what you really think.

But one couple ended up with a £100 fine for doing exactly that.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson wrote a scathing review of Broadway Hotel in Blackpool after staying there for one night in August.

The retired couple, from Whitehaven in Cumbria, paid £36 for the night but later found they had been charged an extra £100 to their credit card. The hotel said it was its policy to charge for bad reviews.

Its booking form contains the clause: "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."

tripadvisor review

An extract from the review

The couple's review, posted on 30 August, described the Blackpool hotel as "a filthy, dirty, rotten, stinking hovel".

They claim the hot tap in their room didn't work, the kettle was broken, the front of the cupboard drawer fell off when they opened it, the carpet was dirty and stained and "the mattress attacked you in the night".

Breakfast was apparently "a joke" with "plastic sausages".

"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 review concluded. "If you are offered this place to stay for a fortnight for 10p, you are being robbed! STAY AWAY!"

Other reviewers on the site were also unimpressed, describing the Broadway Hotel as "lacking basic cleanliness", "horrific" and "a disgusting place".

A total of 147 Tripadvisor guests rated the place as terrible, but a handful thought it was excellent. 

"A warm welcome on arrival , shown to room which had a clear view of the seafront. Linen was fresh and changed daily," reads one review from April this year (the writer had 54 reviews to his name).

Blackpool couple

Mr and Mrs Jenkinson speaking to the BBC

Mr and Mrs Jenkinson were on their way to Oxford when they decided to split the journey by staying in Blackpool. They said they only chose the hotel because it had parking space. Mrs Jenkinson didn't have her glasses on so she signed the booking form without reading the review clause.

"Annoyed isn't strong enough for how I feel about this, what happened to freedom of speech?" Mr Jenkinson told the BBC. "Everybody we have spoken to says they [the hotel] are not allowed to do this."

Trading Standards are investigating the case. 

Regional manager John Greenbank said the clause was a "novel" way to prevent bad reviews. 

"I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this," he said.

The hotel owner has not returned requests for comment. 

Blackpool

Blackpool

What do you think? Have you ever received any response from writing a negative hotel review on TripAdvisor? Or maybe you run your own hotel - in which case, how do you deal with negative reviews? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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