$500 For a Bad Review

It was reported this morning that The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY will charge guests $500 if a negative review is posted on Yelp and other social media sites. Since the story broke and as of this writing there have been 39 new 1 star Yelp reviews 29 new 1 star Facebook reviews and countless Tweets. I’m not surprised by these numbers and they will continue to grow. It’s no longer word of mouth, ┬áit is now word of the internet. One negative post, review or article can be damaging to a business, especially if it is picked up by a news organization or goes viral. Because of this, a business really needs to be attuned to the needs and wants of their customers.

Since I started to work with customer service oriented companies, in helping them with their social media presence, I tend to pay much more attention to stories like these and can see their unfortunate impact. Some have more staying power than others, but I have a feeling if The Union Street Guest House does not change their policy, it will be talked about for some time.

I have never stayed at The Union Street Guest House and know from experience that Yelp reviews may not be 100% truthful. However, this is not a solution to their problem and will probably just deter more and more customers.

As of 12:00 PM on Monday, August 4th they posted the following on their Facebook Page:

“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”

The post was flooded with comments and taken down.

This afternoon, the policy was removed from their website.

To make things possibly worse, it was just covered on the ten o’clock news. So much can change in a day. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the coming days.