Hotel charges Indiana couple $350 for bad review

GREEN COUNTY, Indiana -- A hotel customer was hit with a higher bill because she left a bad review about her stay.

Katrina Arthur and her husband went for a weekend getaway at the Abbey Inn and Suites in Indiana last year, but they say they found the room smelly and dirty as soon as they checked in.

"We start checking the sheets and the bed, and we found hairs, dirt," she said. "So wasn't crazy about that, either. Of course I was disgusted."

Arthur said she cleaned the room herself, and when it was time to leave, she couldn't find a staff member issue a complaint. So when she got an email from the hotel asking for an online review, she didn't hold back.

"I was honest, and I wanted people to know not to waste their money," she said. "Not to go there, because I know people save their money for special occasions."

Arthur said she soon received a $350 charge from the hotel on her debit card and a letter from an attorney threatening legal action. That scared her, so she took the online review down. But she also filed a complaint with the Indiana attorney general's office.

The AG's office filed a lawsuit against the company, which owned and operated the hotel at the time of Arthur's visit.

The suit alleges the company violated Indiana's Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, stating that between September 2015 and November 2016, Abbey Inn had a policy in place that allowed them to charge customers for negative reviews.

The AG's office alleges the hotel did not provide customers with a copy of the policy.

A hotel representative said a new owner took ownership of the facility in January, and she was unaware of the AG's lawsuit.
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