Can a hotel charge an additional payment for a bad review on Tripadvisor? It would appear that a hotel in Blackpool had terms and conditions attached to its booking form which permitted them to deduct a payment of £100 if the guest wrote a bad review of the hotel on the internet. However, is such a clause enforceable? It would seem to be a disguised form of penalty? Is the payment of the £100 a genuine pre-estimate of loss, assuming that by writing a negative review you have breached the terms and conditions of the booking. How could you estimate what the actual loss is of a negative review? If the purpose of the clause is to hold someone "in terrorem" to prevent them writing a negative review then the clause is probably not a genuine pre-estimate of damage and could well be an unenforceable penalty.
Back when I used to work as a travel editor, I used to get asked about Tripadvisor all the time. Do you use it? What do you think of it? Is it fair? These questions are cropping up again, after the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool charged a couple £100 for posting a bad review on the website. The exact words were 'rotten, stinking hovel'. The hotel got away with it because it's tucked away in the booking contract which let's face it, no one really looks at properly. Trading Standards from Cumbria County Council are investigating, but the real question is why on Earth did the hotel feel compelled to do such a thing in the first place?