A guesthouse in Snow Town on the outskirts of Hailin, Heilongjiang province, has been punished by the local tourist authorities for overcharging customers.
The manager of the Zhaojiadayuan guesthouse has been fired 59,000 yuan (,100), "and the business will be suspended until the problem is solved", Liu Zhongcai, director of Dahailin Forestry Bureau's tourism department, told Beijing News on Wednesday.
The suspension comes after WeChat posts by a tourist who complained of being overcharged by the guesthouse and told to switch rooms began circulating online on Friday.
The tourist, whose identity is unknown, said she booked a triple room for two nights for 276 yuan per night.
"I'd heard that room charges are really high in the boom season. So to get a favorable price, I booked on the internet more than two weeks in advance," she wrote, adding that she also prepared food to avoid the high price of dining there.
However, when the family arrived, they found the hotel had other plans.
"After checking in, the boss of the guesthouse told us to change to another room for the second night," the tourist wrote. "The conditions were much worse than the room we booked, so we refused.
"The boss then asked us to leave after the first night and told us that we could receive a refund only after giving him a good rating on the internet."
She also mentioned that she found a bowl of instant noodles at the tourist center priced at 60 yuan, about 12 times the normal price.
The post attracted widespread public attention and put the town－well-known for its farm-based tourism－at the center of a controversy. The town was awarded the title of "National Civilized Village" by the Central Committee of Civilization in 2012.
According to Liu of the tourism department, shortly after the post began to spread online, inspectors from the administration descended on the town to investigate. Their findings confirmed the guesthouse had been overcharging customers.
"We have tried several times to connect with the tourist to offer our apologies," he said.
Liu Xiaoyu, 36, a civil servant in Hegang, Heilongjiang, said she has been planning a short trip for next weekend with friends from Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
"We will meet in the capital Harbin, and Snow Town was originally one of the destinations," she told China Daily. "But when I heard the news about overcharging, I decided to change the plan to avoid unhappy experience."