By Dale Western on 19 November 2014

A hotel in Blackpool that took £100 from a couple's credit card after they wrote a negative review about them is being investigated by Trading Standards.

The Broadway Hotel, which is ranked on TripAdvisor as Blackpool's 858th most popular hotel out of 894, has received 147 'terrible' reviews, and 24 'poor' reviews.

Tony Jenkinson and his wife Jan spent one night in the three-star hotel to break up their journey from Whitehaven to Oxford, and wrote the review after being unimpressed by the hotel's services, calling it a 'stinking, rotten hovel'.

The hotel then billed the couple £100, and after reading the smallprint on the booking form, the couple discovered that the hotel's policy was to 'charge' for bad reviews.

"Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not," it states. "For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."

Mr Jenkinson said that his wife signed the booking details without her glasses on, and as a result, was not aware of the charge.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Jenkinson said: "Annoyed isn't strong enough for how I feel about this; what happened to freedom of speech? Everybody we have spoken to says they (the hotel) are not allowed to do this."

The couple have sought a refund from their credit card company.

When contacted by the BBC for a statement, the manager of the Broadway Hotel was unavailable for comment.

Councillor John McCreesh, cabinet member for trading standards, said: "Customers need to be free to be honest about the service they're getting.

"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."

Image credit: Google Maps

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