Of the countless apps that are currently in the Apple or Google Play Store, there’s an app for virtually every situation. Of all the many apps that range in level of usefulness, one app/website sticks out as the pinnacle of reviewing places that people frequent. Yelp is an app/website with honest reviews for almost every location imaginable, regardless of whether the location has any significance in history or nature; from your neighborhood Chick-Fil-A to The Grand Canyon and even Ford’s Theater. You know, the theater where President Lincoln was assassinated.


Providing many ways for customers to vent and demonstrate their frustration in the cyber world, Yelp has become a breeding ground for both serious and hilarious negative reviews. However, a woman in Indiana’s Greene County has found herself receiving a decently sized fine and threatened with legal action due to an apparently scathing review of a hotel and its lackluster service.


Abbey Inn Indiana and Crisis PR

The Abbey Inn via Fortune.com

Impressed by the pictures on the website, Katrina Arthur and her husband stayed at Abbey Inn & Suites in Brown County for a little getaway in April 2016. Yet upon arrival, Arthur described the uncleanliness of the room and its horrible condition to WGN 9 as being unkempt, and “it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the last people stayed there.” On their bed, Arthur found hair and dirt remnants.


As the icing on the cake of disgust, Arthur described the room’s smell as resembling that of sewage and both air conditioning and water either barely working or not working entirely. After several attempts to locate hotel staff, Arthur decided to call the front desk directly; this call inexplicably led to the phone line for a law office not related to Abbey Inn & Suites in any way.


Understandably, Arthur left an honest review when she received a post-visit email containing a review of their stay. She decided to be completely truthful on the quality of their stay, including the abysmal state of the room as well as leaving a Yelp review telling potential guests about their stay.  Arthur then saw that the hotel charged her $350 for leaving said negative review. Obviously ticked off, she went to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office who promptly filed a suit against Abbey Management, the owners of the hotel. Apparently, Abbey Management had a strange policy that allowed them to fine any guests that left a negative review. Although, this policy is only stated on the second page of a seven-page document on their website.


Never was Arthur told about the negative review policy.  The Indiana Attorney General’s Office said that the hotel was in blatant violation of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, describing the policy as “unfair, abusive, and deceptive”. While being threatened with legal action over a Yelp review could be somewhat stressful, reports say that The Abbey Inn is now owned by an entirely different management group now. Still, no updates have been given on the status of the $350 payment, the new management is apparently trying to change the negative status of the hotel.


Have you left a bad Yelp review? If so, tell me about it at @CaptainKasoff.