A couple have been 'fined' £100 for describing a hotel as a "rotten stinking hovel" on a travel website. Tony and Jan Jenkinson posted the negative comment on Trip Advisor after their one night stay at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool left much to be desired.
The couple later found their credit card had been charged £100, with the hotel stating is policy was to charge for "bad" reviews. It is now thought it may have breached unfair trading practice regulations. When contacted for comment the manager of the hotel was unavailable, the BBC reports.
The hotel policy, contained in a booking document, reads: "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", it adds.
However, the Jekinsons are not the only ones unimpressed by the seafront hotel - it is ranked 858 out of 894 in Blackpool and more than half its reviews rate it as “terrible”. One recent review described the accommodation as a “prisoner camp” while other visitors said they would rather sleep in a tent on the beach opposite.
John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said fines were a “novel” way to prevent bad reviews. He said: “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.”
Councillor John McCreesh, cabinet member for trading standards, said that customers needed to be free to be honest about the service they were receiving. He added: “Other customers depend upon it. Hotel owners should focus on getting their service right rather than shutting down aggrieved customers with threats and fines. People should have the right to vent their disappointment if a hotel stay did not meet their expectations and should not be prevented from having their say.”
Question 1 (2 points) Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
a. The Jenkinsons submitted their review while staying at the hotel.
b. The hotel has refused to make any comments.
c. John Greenbank thinks this idea is a good way to prevent bad reviews.
d. According to John McCreesh, people ought to be free to express themselves.
Question 2 (2 points) Answer the following questions in your own words.
a. Why did the hotel charge the money to the Jenkinsons?
b. Why does Mr McCreesh disagree with this practice?
Question 3 (1.5 points) Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given.
a. to declare (par 2) b. not affected (par 4) c. to find (par 5)
d. to consider (par 5) e. letdown (par 6)
Question 4 (1.5 points) Complete the following sentences without changing the meaning.
a. The group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.
b. It is thought this fine has breached unfair trading practice regulations.
c. He said: “I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this.”
He said that ....................
Question 5 (3 points) Write a short essay (120-150 words) on the following topic:
Why are low cost holidays so popular nowadays?