One of the coolest small towns in the USA may now be home to one of the most trolled businesses on the Internet, and the owner is apologizing.
A day after the New York Post publicized the Union Street Guest House's posted policy to charge guests $500 for bad online reviews, the Internet piled on the Hudson Valley hotelier's Facebook page as well as Yelp, which has removed more than 3,000 posts it deemed inappropriate.
"Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed. This indeed was a policy of the Union Street Guest House," Chris Wagoner, the owner of the Union Street Guest House said in a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon. "It was originally intended as a joke and never something I told employees to enforce. However, since it was listed on our website it did represent an official policy. I now realize this joke was made in poor taste and not at all funny. This is no longer a policy of Union Street Guest House and we have taken it off of our website."
Although the hotel removed the $500 policy from its website Monday and said it was a joke, at least one bad review posted on Yelp in 2013 states the owner did indeed try to collect $500.
"I've also read the reviews from guests saying we tried to enforce the negative reviews policy on them and for that I apologize," Wagoner said in the letter. "It was never my intention for anyone to pay this fine. The instances where an attempt was made to collect the fees were a breakdown in communication between my staff and me, and for that I accept full responsibility. Including the fine for negative reviews as part of our policy was a mistake. That's not the type of business that we run.It was a case of a joke gone very, very bad."
Few businesses can afford to ignore review sites.