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'They want you out of their hair as quickly as possible'

Julie Sheppard's son Andrew Watt, who was from Durham, was found dead in a lane in France in 2010. Credit: ITV Border

A family from the Borders has welcomed a report that criticises the way consular staff abroad treat bereaved relatives.

Julie Sheppard's son died from a heart attack while in France - but she says she got no assistance.

The Foreign Office said it meets every family, but the report highlighted concerns that some of its staff were insensitive and incompetent.

Read: Grieving families protest outside Foreign Office

"They basically want you out of their hair as quickly as possible. It's really unpleasant as a mum losing her son, to feel uncomfortable about ringing up because you feel you're a nuisance."

– Julie Sheppard, Andrew's mother

Border region troops train in Poland

Troops from the Border region are among hundreds currently on a training exercise in Poland. The Army says it's to show Eastern European states that they can be confident they'll get help should they need it.

The promise through NATO comes as political tensions with Russia increase. The exercise is called Operation Black Eagle and as David Wood reports it has more importance than a routine training exercise.


Two 'serious but stable' after crash

Two people are in hospital with serious injuries after a crash between two cars near Carlisle.

It happened at half past 7 last night (Nov 20th) just east of the Thursby roundabout on the A596.

The police say a silver Vauxhall Vectra, driven by a 22-year-old man from Maryport, and a silver Ford Mondeo, driven by a 67-year-old woman from Carlisle, were travelling in opposite directions when they collided.

Both were taken to hospital in Carlisle where they remain in a serious but stable condition.

The road was closed for four and a half hours.

  1. Granada

'Hotel fine' couple 'furious' at charge

Tony and Jan Jenkinson had a £100 extra charged to their credit card after they called the Broadway Hotel a 'filthy, stinking hovel" after staying there.

When they queried it they were told there was a 'no bad review' policy in the terms and conditons.

Jan told Granada Reports she was "furious" at the charge.


Hotel review couple to be refunded

The hotel reportedly had a 'no bad review' policy. Credit: ITV

A couple "fined" by a hotel after they wrote a damning review about it are to be given a refund, a council has said.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson said they were charged an extra £100 after describing the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool as a "filthy, stinking hovel" on TripAdvisor.

Blackpool Council said today that they understood that the hotel will reimburse them, as well as scrapping the policy.

"Our trading standards team became aware of this issue last week.

As a result, we have spoken to the hotel owner and asked for the policy to be removed, which has now happened.

This is a unique case and not one that we have come across before."

– Gillian Campbell, cabinet member responsible for public protection at the local authority

The couple, from Whitehaven in Cumbria, had been attempting to recoup the money through their credit card company.

They complained to Cumbria Trading Standards officials, who passed the matter to counterparts in Blackpool.

The hotel could not be reached for comment. Its website appeared to be down.

Trip Advisor respond to £100 bad review fine

Trip Advisor allows people to review hotels online. Credit: PA

A hotel in Blackpool has charged a couple £100 for leaving a negative review online.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson from Whitehaven claim £100 was charged to their credit card for going against the 'no bad review' policy of the hotel.

A spokesperson for Trip Advisor says this is 'against the spirit and policies of our site':

"While, thankfully, such instances are very rare, it is completely against the spirit and policies of our site for any business owner to attempt to bully or intimidate reviewers who have had a negative experience.

Where we find evidence of a business doing so, we will take action to protect the integrity of our site."

– James Kay, Trip Advisor spokesperson

£100 fine for reviewing hotel as 'filthy, stinking hovel'

People can leave reviews for hotels they've stayed in on the website Trip Advisor. Credit: PA

A Whitehaven couple have claimed they were charged an extra £100 by a hotel after leaving an online review describing it as a "filthy, stinking hovel".

Tony and Jan Jenkinson stopped at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool on their way to Oxford, paying £36 for a night in a double room. They said they encountered a string of problems, prompting Mr Jenkinson to post the review on the website Trip Advisor. The Jenkinsons said they discovered the £100 charge on their credit card statement a few days later.

When they queried the charge, they were said to have been told it was incurred under a "no bad review policy" included in the terms and conditions.

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

Whitehaven couple fined £100 for bad hotel review

Leaving a review on Trip Advisor's website Credit: Trip Advisor

A couple from Whitehaven have been 'fined' £100 for describing a hotel as a "rotten stinking hovel" on Trip Advisor.

The Broadway Hotel, in Blackpool, said it is their policy to charge for 'bad' reviews after Tony and Jan Jenkinson found their credit card had been charged.

When the couple discovered the unexpected charge on their credit card they contacted the hotel and the manager said they had a ‘no bad review policy’ in their terms and conditions.

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

The couple then contacted the council’s Trading Standards team to complain about the matter.

“I have worked for Trading Standards for many years and have never seen anything like this. The hotel management clearly thinks that they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice.”

– John Greenbank, Trading Standards Area Manager North

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards say this policy could be deemed an unfair term under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and therefore have passed it on to colleagues at Blackpool Trading Standards to investigate. The couple have sought a refund via their credit card company.

“Customers need to be free to be honest about the service they’re getting. Other customers depend upon it. Hotel owners should focus on getting their service right rather than shutting down aggrieved customers with threats and fines. 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.”

– Cllr John McCreesh, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards
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