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  1. #1
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Falsely Accused of Paying for

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Pennsylvania

    Hello. We are located in the state of Pennsylvania. We have been in business for over 40 years and we take great pride in our small family business. We know not every customer can be pleased 100%, but a recent negative review left for us is over the top and seems to be left for nothing but reasons of harm. The person who left the long winded review seems to be accusing us of paying people to post reviews which we have never done. Has the statement below crossed the legal line as far as accusing us of paying for positive reviews?

    The reviewers statement: "I have to wonder if all these positive "great food" reviewers are getting paid by (Name Of Business) to say such over the top positive things and rate 5 stars."

    The person then went on to run the business down in multiple ways. They even went so far as to say... "Of 140+ other reviews I have scanned them and I found 2 or 3 other peoples star rating to be 3 stars or under."

    Who in the world would go through the trouble of scanning over 140+ reviews and then state that they found just 2 or 3 other people that rated it 3 stars or less?

    These types of things are very disturbing and need to be controlled. It's like people can say whatever they want without any consequences. We don't even have a customer under the name that was used to post the review. We have a feeling that this person left this negative review for a friend of theirs that has been in a dispute with a relative of ours that has nothing to do with our business.

    We noticed this person left the same, almost word for word, negative Google review for a couple of other businesses.

    Can anything be done about this? We greatly appreciate help in this matter. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,147

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    You can complain to google (or whatever site) pointing out the apparent spamming going on and hope that they deal with it. Here's google's procedure: https://support.google.com/business/.../4596773?hl=en

    Other than that you're probably best to leave it alone. It's not going to be cost effective to launch a suit aginst someone you don't properly know the identity of.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    So...the law should limit what people are allowed to say and what opinions they are allowed to express? Should you be limited in what you're allowed to say about the person who left those reviews?

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    17,060

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    Quote Quoting JosephT
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    Can anything be done about this?
    Don't bother and don't lose any sleep over it. People ignore that kind of tripe. It's not going to harm your business.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    So...the law should limit what people are allowed to say and what opinions they are allowed to express? Should you be limited in what you're allowed to say about the person who left those reviews?
    I believe the law does limit what you can say, and write, hence slander and libel. There's a difference between opinion and fact. Posting opinion is legal, but posting a lie as fact is not. Put yourself in the businesses position. How would you feel if someone who was never a customer of yours got mad at you and decided to post a false negative review of your business that you work so hard at? For example if a person said you stole from them or their was a rat in their soup and they couldn't prove it, that's a legal problem I believe. I guess a evil person could construct a false review using opinion which is a shame.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Don't bother and don't lose any sleep over it. People ignore that kind of tripe. It's not going to harm your business.

    Thank you for that advice. I probably shouldn't bother and lose any sleep over it. I think... we wouldn't be in business 40+ years if we weren't doing something right. I get great compliments almost every day. On the other hand... It's upsetting when you bust your butt, take pride in your business, and some nut that's not even a customer comes along and makes things up about it. It's wrong

  6. #6
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    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    How do you know he was never a customer? How do you know what his opinion was?

  7. #7
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    How do you know he was never a customer? How do you know what his opinion was?
    A he? How do you know it's a he and not a she? We know because we have every name of every customer and that person is not on the list and their picture is no one we have ever seen. They are also leaving the same review for other businesses. Somehow you think that's okay to do? You feel they have a right to do that is what I gather from what you have said. That's the impression I get from what you have said so far. Opinions are one thing, but posting a lie as fact is not. Correct? Aren't written false statements libel? They said we are paying people to post positive reviews. I guess you didn't read my original post.

    I think you just want to argue, but never touched on what I said...

    YOU SAID...

    So...the law should limit what people are allowed to say and what opinions they are allowed to express? Should you be limited in what you're allowed to say about the person who left those reviews?

    My reply: I believe the law does limit what you can say, and write, hence slander and libel. Correct??? Isn't there a difference between opinion and fact? Posting opinion is legal, but posting a lie as fact is not. Put yourself in the businesses position. How would you feel if someone who was never a customer of yours got mad at you and decided to post a false negative review of your business that you work so hard at? For example if a person said you stole from them or their was a rat in their soup and they couldn't prove it, that's a legal problem I believe. I guess a evil person could construct a false review using opinion which is a shame.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    278

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    flyingron gave you good advice. I know other business owners who have had that happen and got the bad reviews removed quickly by going through Google's process. Yes it stinks that you have to do it, but the process is fairly quick and painless and it's part of being a business owner these days.

    FWIW I have had competitors - some less than a mile away - run down my business verbally to mutual customers. I know this because over the years I've had over a dozen people tell me "Do you know what XYZ is saying about you?"

    Yes, I do know. I don't care. I did nothing about it because I focused on improving my business instead of running others down. It got around pretty quickly that he was lying and he has LOST business because people figured that out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    4

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    Quote Quoting bcr229
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    flyingron gave you good advice. I know other business owners who have had that happen and got the bad reviews removed quickly by going through Google's process. Yes it stinks that you have to do it, but the process is fairly quick and painless and it's part of being a business owner these days.

    FWIW I have had competitors - some less than a mile away - run down my business verbally to mutual customers. I know this because over the years I've had over a dozen people tell me "Do you know what XYZ is saying about you?"

    Yes, I do know. I don't care. I did nothing about it because I focused on improving my business instead of running others down. It got around pretty quickly that he was lying and he has LOST business because people figured that out.
    Thanks for the reply! We've done well... we've been in business for over 40 years. Please look at the original post in this thread though. Is what the person said a violation as it pertains to "paid reviews?" Would Google remove it? From what I've read, I doubt it very much. I read some other stories and people have had worse situations that they couldn't get removed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Paying for

    No and no.

    If it is his opinion that you paid for good reviews, he's allowed to say that. No, Google will not remove it.

    Just because you don't know of a customer with the name on the review doesn't mean he wasn't a customer; not everyone uses their correct name on message boards and reviews. Just because most of your reviews are good doesn't mean he is lying if he says he had a bad one. A single bad review is not going to ruin your business. He - whoever he is - is just as entitled to provide his opinion as you are yours.

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