Negative Reviews; 

With the advent of Google reviews in November 2013, reviewing a business or looking for reviews for a business has never been easier or more convenient. People do not even have to purposefully use search terms such as “review”, “ratings” or “feedback” in order to see what others have to say about a business. Simply typing in a business name brings up not just review sites but Google reviews. Google reviews are especially unique as they do not appear as yet another link to press. Instead, a star-rating system is immediately visible, bringing the reputation of your business to the forefront of a potential customer’s attention, sadly you cant directly remove negative reviews from Google.

So how do you manage online reviews? At first instance, it is good practice not to post fake positive reviews for your own business because many platforms frown upon that and may take action against your business.

There are strategies to manage your reputation when you get a negative review including responding to the review to try and diffuse the situation. Often, this is recognised as a good way to manage your reputation as it provides other viewers with a chance to both understand what your side of the story was and also a chance to see how you deal with customers even in negative reviews situations. It lets disgruntled customers also know that you care about their experience.

Moving on from communicating to the reviewers themselves, you might want to try and communicate with the platform itself. On some platforms, it is possible to delete the review yourself (eg Facebook comments). However, not all platforms offer that (eg Google reviews), and such platforms usually have their own removal policy. Generally, a bad review in itself would not be sufficient reason for a platform to remove the negative reviews. It usually has to be against their user policy or be a violation of a law (eg defamatory content).

Here are the processes for what you can do to for the two examples we cited above.

Facebook

Comments from a post on your Facebook Page can be deleted by:

  1. Hovering over the comment
  2. Clicking and selecting ‘Hide Comment’
  3. Clicking ‘Delete’

Google reviews

Flag review for removal – only works for violations of Google Policies (ie if it is a disagreement of facts it will not work)

If a flagged review has not been removed after a few days, get in touch with a support associate via:

  1. Google My Business Dashboard
    1. Login à go to reviews section à click on home menu and select Support à choose method of contact (phone or email) à fill in contact perimeters, add screenshot of the review in question à wait to hear back
  2. Tweet the Small Business Support Team via Twitter

Tweet from your company account to the Google Small Biz Team

  1. Log on to Twitter using your company’s Twitter account
  2. Send a Tweet to the Google Small Biz Team
  3. The small business team generally takes about 24-48 hours to respond to a Tweet. Once they respond, you can make your case

If you have a legal complaint about the review, you may also inform Google via Google’s Legal Removal Requests: https://support.google.com/legal/answer/3110420?rd=1

If the above does not work, you can consider subpoenaing Google to unveil the person behind the comments. If the account was created with fake information and is defamatory, the court may order that the review is removed. Usually, Google will comply with court orders.

AMK Law can advise on all matters of civil action. If you have any queries on how to remove negative reviews, you can contact AMK Law directly by telephone or by email admin@3.25.104.7

This information is of a general nature only and it is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to take any action based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional legal advice.