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The 1-star truth behind negative reviews

When you have a rare evening free from work, you certainly want to make the most of it. If you decide to try a new restaurant or see a movie, like many California consumers, you may check various websites for reviews and ratings. After all, your time and money are precious, and you don't want to waste either on a bad experience.

Trusting in online reviews is widespread. People can post their opinions of hotels, home improvement contractors, items they buy online, even their college professors. However, you may have been shocked to read a scathing review of your own business, and the details of the post make you believe it was not authentic.

Unfair tactics

An insidious trend is evident in websites that allow customers to rate their experiences. Competitors and disgruntled employees often post negative reviews of a business in an attempt to damage the company's reputation. Potential customers don't always consider that a negative review may be false, and with over 70 percent of consumers placing stock in your company's rating, you can't afford to ignore it.

Some clues that a negative review may be fake include:

  • Your records show no evidence of such a customer or transaction.
  • Other reviews on the website don't concur with the negative review.
  • The reviewer's profile is new, incomplete or otherwise suspicious.
  • There are similar reviews on the profiles of other competitors.
  • The reviewer doesn't respond to your offers of finding a solution to the problem.

After evaluating the review based on these factors, you may conclude that the post is likely fake, in which case, you may have cause to pursue a claim of defamation against the reviewer. The challenge is finding out who made the post. If the post contains words or phrases that indicate inside knowledge of the business, the reviewer may be a competitor or a former employee.

Fighting for the life of your business

You may feel frustrated and even angry to watch your business decline after the money and effort you have put into making it a success. Negative online reviews are powerful tools, and if your competitor is using them to gain an unfair advantage over your company, you certainly want to take action to prevent further damage.

Obtaining aggressive legal representation as quickly as possible may reduce the negative consequences your competitor or former employee may be attempting to bring about. An attorney with experience defending businesses against unfair competition and defamation can build a strategy to help you with your goal of regaining the positive momentum your business once enjoyed.

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