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Union Street Guest House does not charge guests $500 for posting bad reviews

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A story circulating Monday from Page Six, indicates that a Hudson River Valley hotel, the Union Street Guest House, is in the habit of charging guests $500 whenever they post a bad a review. Sadly for those of us in the "pointing fingers at idiots" trade, this information is a little exaggerated.

In condemning the hotel, news outlets have pointed to the following passage from the Union Street Guest House web site (it appears to have since been deleted): “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” reads an online policy. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”

A spokesman for the hotel told us the whole thing was apparently just a joke that got out of hand. "The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago," said an email to Examiner.com. "It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced."

Request for further information was unavailable as the owner of the Union Street Guest House is out of town for the next few weeks.

In the wake of the article, though, the Union Street Guest House's Yelp page has been flooded with one-star reviews from angry readers. Seriously, flooded. I had to go thirteen pages before I found a review that wasn't submitted this morning. Most of these angry people have not actually stayed at the hotel, they've simply heard about the hotel's apparent policy and responded with a little social media justice (the easiest and least informed of all the justices). As of this morning, negative comments abound:

"Getting a one star for the policy penalizing guests for making a bad review. Maybe you should focus on customer service instead of trying to intimidate guests into not reviewing you(sic) property," says one, while another quips, "Unacceptable policy of not allowing objective review of their hotel (cost $500 per bad review!). You can't insulate yourself from bad service, you can only respond to it."

Having not visited the hotel personally, it's impossible to say whether or not the place is actually worth your time. To be totally honest, even if you skip past all the reviews posted this morning, the place still seems kind of meh. It seems to have a reputation for lackluster service more than anything, but it would only seem fair for the hotel's actual shortcomings to drive it out of business as opposed to being done in by some poorly thought out verbiage on its web site.

Sure, this story is just the flavor of the day. Most people honestly won't remember it by the time Friday rolls around, but you can bet the folks who run the Union Street Guest House will be dealing with the ramifications for months to come.

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