Indiana Hotel Sued After Charging $350 From Guest Who Left Negative Review

Randall Padilla
December 21, 2017

A hotel guest's scathing review has cost her a $350 "fine".

Katrina Arthur and her husband stayed at Abbey Inn & Suites in March 2016. "The room was unkempt, and it looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the last people stayed there", Arthur told Call 6, the investigative arm of a local ABC news affiliate, the Indy Channel.

Here's one I've never heard of before. She told WRTV that they are attempting to improve the hotel.

"So we start checking the sheets and the bed and we found hairs, dirt, so wasn't insane about that either, of course I was disgusted", she told ABC.

The current owner did not answer WRTV'S attempts to get a response about the pending lawsuit, but a woman who, along with her husband, have been trying to buy the Abbey Inn since January told WRTV that she was unaware of any litigation against the owners.

Another reviewer said she had to clean the room herself, too.

"The beds, the linen and everything looked like it had been used and dirty", said Arthur. "I was honest, and I wanted people to know not to waste their money", she said.

Before writing the review, though, Arthur had tried to make the best of the situation, she told WRTV. It's alleged the company violated the state's Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

The lawsuit filed against the Abbey Inn alleges that it had an "unfair, abusive, and deceptive" policy between September 2015 and November 2016 of charging guests for leaving negative reviews, the Indy Channel reported. "Should the guest refuse to retract any such public statements legal action may be pursued". She also said there was little water pressure, WRTV reported.

The lawsuit claimed that Abbey Inn & Suites had no right to draw up such a policy because reviews are protected under free speech, something that customers can not be penalized for.

"There's nothing wrong with being truthful", she said.

According to the Attorney General, hotel guests were not provided with a copy of the policy.

It was then revealed that the Inn had a policy which essentially gave the company the right to penalize guests who left negative reviews about the facility.

Based on the protections of IN and federal law, consumers should feel comfortable leaving truthful reviews about their experiences. So Arthur wrote what happened, according to the attorney general's office. "The ability for a consumer to say what they want about a business via an online review is largely protected at both the state and federal level".

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