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Union Street Guest House Slammed by Patrons for Allegedly Fining Guests Who Will Give Them Bad Reviews; Upscale New York Hotel Apologizes to Clients

BY Skye Park | Aug 06, 2014 08:00 PM EDT

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Union Street Guest House has been slammed by patrons after the upscale hotel announced that they will be charging clients $500 for each negative review they post.

The site read, "If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here. Therefore: if you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us 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."

The New York Post was first to publish the hotel's text and hours after, Union Street Guest House pulled out the content from its website and stressed that it was all part of a big joke, The Verge reported.

Yelp has released an official statement and stressed that the policy was simply misguided, according to TNooz.

"For ten years this month, Yelp has provided a platform for people to exercise free speech and warn consumers about bad business behavior such as this. Yelp fights to protect free speech for consumers against efforts to intimidate or stifle it. Trying to prevent your customers from talking about their experiences is bad policy and, in this case, likely unenforceable anyway."

"We encourage people to share their first-hand experiences; reviews that are contributed as a result o media attention and do not reflect first-hand experiences run counter to Yelp's Terms of Service and will be removed from the site."

Meanwhile, the hotel's owner, Chris Wagoner has issued an apology on the hotel's official Facebook page and has stressed that the policy has not been enforced ever, despite former patrons claiming otherwise, SMH reported.

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