Couple "fined" €125 by hotel for bad TripAdvisor review to get their money back

The incident was being investigated by the local council

Couple "fined" €125 by hotel for bad TripAdvisor review to get their money back

This review has cost the pair €125 | Image: TripAdvisor

A British couple fined €125 by a hotel for leaving a bad TripAdvisor review are getting their money back.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson were fined stg£100 (€125) by a Blackpool hotel after they wrote an internet review describing it as a "rotten stinking hovel run by muppets".

The hotel has also been asked to drop its policy of fining guests who submit negative reviews online.

The Jenkinsons 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 stg£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".

Mr and Mrs Jenkinson, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, were seeking a refund of the fine from their credit card company and Trading Standards from Cumbria County Council were investigating, with officials saying the hotel may have breached unfair trading practice regulations.

John Greenbank from Trading Standards told the Daily Telegraph: "I have worked for Trading Standards for many years and have never seen anything like this."

"The hotel management clearly thinks that they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice."

Mr and Mrs Jenkinson had written that the hot tap and kettle in their room did not work, the drawer fronts fell off and there was no phone.

The review written by the couple on TripAdvisor | Image: TripAdvisor

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!!

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

The Jenkinsons are 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".

Jennifer P, of Blackburn, wrote: "Nobody in their right mind would stay here" and described the room as "disgustingly dirty".

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."