The Indiana Attorney General is investigating an Indiana hotel and is accused of a truly outrageous practice of charging customers hundreds of dollars when they write bad reviews of the hotel. Katrina Arthus and her husband were hit with a $350 fine when they panned the Abbey Inn & Suites on a social media site. They complained about the room smelling of sewage and the sheets were dirty. That led to the fine for disclosing their opinions and later a lawsuit by Arthus.
The hotel posts this outrageous notice to guests (which most likely fail to read):
“Guests agree that if guests find any problems with our accommodations, and fail to provide us the opportunity to address those problems while the guest is with us, and/or refuses our exclusive remedy, but then disparages us in any public manner, we will be entitled to charge their credit card an additional $350 damage. Should the guest refuse to retract any such public statements legal action may be pursued.”
It is really quite unbelievable but this hotel has actually imposed this fine and threatened legal action. The fines leave the impression that the hotel is willing pay lawyers to threaten guests rather than put that money to actually improving conditions at its hotel.
Now The Indiana Attorney General is investigating the hotel for violations of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
The state believes that the fine and threats violated Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act as an “unfair, abusive, and deceptive” practice.
The practice of Abbey Inn & Suites seems to easily meet those terms and far worse descriptions.
25 thoughts on “Indiana Hotel Charges Guests $350 For Writing Bad Review”
If you don’t like the terms of the contract, don’t sign it. Go do a different hotel, or build your own.
You can’t make a contract for something which is illegal.
You want the government to stand between two parties who want to freely enter into a contract? Why do you hate freedom? No one has to sign the contract the hotel is offering. Like I said, go to another hotel, or build your own, or sleep in your car. — Jibbertarian
We live in a society, filled with all sorts of laws and rules. Don’t like it? Leave. Use your freedom and depart. Depart where you can live alone, on an isolated island, where you can try to survive by your own wits, following your own, particular standards. Your own whims. Your own rules, or, lack thereof. As long as you choose to live in this particular society, however, whether you like it or not, there are rules. Laws. One of those laws include the prohibition against forming an enforceable contract which includes an illegal activity. Don’t like it? Use your freedom and leave. No one will miss you. No one.
Includes, not include.
Ya drive through at night. Dump out the dog shit, goat turds, cow poop etc on the sidewalks.
I’d offer a comment but for fear of being fined $350.
Indiana, LOL………The AG will side with business…….and make the people that brought the suit pray and go to church.
You our obviously unfamiliar with the Indian AG, Curtis Hill, who is the one who brought the suite. The Inn has since been sold and the new owners are planning to close it and reopen with a new name due to the bad publicity resulting from this.
Um, the FTC should be next since this violates the Consumer Review Fairness Act.
Perhaps it might be worth $350 if they acted in this manner. From my interpretation of the penalty clause, the $350 is only enforceable once and not per each act of disparagement.
Pay the fine then make them a pet project, dumping a fathomless cornucopia of insult and derision onto a world wide web of potential customers and shadenfreude-savoring connoisseurs alike.
All kinds of justice my friends. All kinds of justice.
I like that plan. They could easily raise funds with a Go Fund Me campaign to combat a hospitality tyrant.
Karen S – what we need is a write-in for this place. We GoFundMe to support and then 100 people arrive to give it bad ratings. The place will go under.
Hmmm. Somebody needs to do something like this to see what happens!
Excellent, Squeeky! In this current age when things have gotten so extreme that many people cannot discern whether or not a given writing is satire, send-up, or sarcasm, you’ve steered clear perfectly from the hotel’s management’s “fine print” $350 charge for “disparagement.”
Also, I fail to see how such a charge is unlawful. Free speech rights do not go out the window merely for checking into a certain hotel, regardless of what warning they sneak in into their check-in agreement. If you could just throw in any kind of legal crap into such a common agreement as checking into a hotel, then I should be able to add some language of my own to the agreement such as the following:
“Upon acceptance of my agreement to check into your hotel, you agree to pay me three times the amount of any fine you charge me in the event that I disparage your hotel in any public forum.” (;-)
Squeek, You have a gift, girl.
Unfortunately, I’ll bet a lot of people wouldn’t catch that it was sarcasm.
It’s a bad sign when any business inserts any such clause. It implies that they have an ongoing problem with bad reviews, and are aggressive against unsatisfied customers. Their mishandling of the situation has now resulted in bad publicity.
I hope the Indiana Attorney General prevails, and perhaps the health inspector should pay them a visit. If they have a sewage problem, and perhaps a lack of hygiene, guests could become ill.
The local health department should be investigated for not making sure that this joint meets the standards, imposed on such facilities, if it wishes to keep its doors open to the public. No dpubt, the fines, charged to guests, who complain about the stench of sewage in the rooms, not to mention filthy, unwashed sheets, are used to pay off the health department inspectors who are, most likely, on the take, and allowing such sub-standard conditions to prevail and go on, unabated.
Streisand Effect: Because nothing says “avoid like the plague” quite like being raked over the coals in the national news and social media. Glad that $350 worked out for them.
Cat’s out of the bag now. This bad PR will do worse for the fleabag motel’s image than any online singleton review ever could.
Go get them, AG. Evidently, this particular hotel has problems. 😉
Freedom of Speech?
Sandi Hemming – if you write a good review you should be rewarded $350. Fair is fair.
Yelp me Rhonda.
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