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Can a Business Delete a Yelp Review?

yelpSo you got a bad yelp review for your business. It’s probably not a big deal if you have thousands of reviews, but this can be pretty damaging when you are just starting out and have a minimal amount of reviews. One bad review can really hurt! Deleting the bad review to maintain your business’ reputation would be the first thing do, right?

The problem with Yelp is that unreasonable clients can often hold a business hostage by threatening to leave a terrible review unless they get their money back, even for a job well performed.  If your business is in this position, there’s a few things a business owner can and cannot do in this situation.

Can a Business Delete a Yelp Review?

Unfortunately, Yelp does not allow business owners to remove any review just because it is unfavorable. The point of Yelp is to provide honest reviews from real customers to the public and Yelp wants to keep the reliability of their forum this way, so unfortunately, you cannot delete a Yelp review, no matter how damaging it is.

Report the User to Yelp to Remove it

Although you can’t delete a bad review, Yelp will recognize if a review, on its face, appears to be a violation of their Content Guidelines, they provide the opportunity for you to report the issue so that their team can review it and perhaps remove it based on the violation. Violations that may be removed are if the review is clearly from someone who did not actually visit or use your business, or is using language that constitutes threats, harassment, racial slurs, or lewdness. Furthermore, if the customer has threatened to leave your business with a bad review unless they get a  refund, or are otherwise leveraging the bad review as a form of extortion, then this too is unlawful. Yelp will usually remove these types of reviews.

Contact the Reviewer to Make Things Right

If what the reviewer is saying is within their right to have the opinion, perhaps you can try contacting them through Yelp to see if you can address the review to make them happy. Perhaps it was a bad day for the business, a mistake, or the reviewer was just misunderstood. There are ways through open communication that make it right again and perhaps the reviewer will feel better about your business and voluntarily remove their review.

You can also respond directly on the review on Yelp so that it is public, that you acknowledge their opinion and would like to make things better. The reviewer may not respond to you but at the very least, you are publicly trying to address the issue and future readers of the review can perhaps take away that the business wants take the opportunity to improve and appreciates the customer’s opinion.

Get More Good Reviews

Just as it is important to maintain the integrity of Yelp by refusing to delete bad reviews, Yelp’s Content Guidelines also state that you should not be asking customers to write good reviews. That would be taking away the authenticity of the forum. However, customers voluntarily writing good reviews because they truly enjoyed their experience are welcome.

Take the Reviewer to Court for Defamation

Taking a negative Yelp reviewer to court for defamation is not easy and can be more harmful than good. If it is just a bad review, you may find yourself wasting time in court to only have a judge toss you out of there. You may have a defamation suit if you can prove the negative review was an outright lie and caused damages to your business. Proving your case can be difficult and you should have an experienced defamation attorney at Axis Legal review the facts surrounding the review before deciding how to best proceed.

AXIS Legal Counsel’s Business Practice provides legal advice to numerous small businesses with a variety of legal matters, including business formations, contracts, deals, and transactions, business administration, corporate governance, operations, risk management / insurancelabor/employment matters, intellectual property, healthcare, crisis management, directors/officers, private/data security, technology, statutory/legal compliance, and business litigation. AXIS represents businesses, corporations, LLCs, LLPS, partnerships, and startups in need of a corporate lawyer, for business legal matters as well as business litigation, such as disagreements, non-solicit agreements, non-competes, trade secrets, and other disputes with businesses. We are also experienced in providing assistance to business clients concerning business contracts, corporate formation matters, contracts and transactions, business litigation, business legal advice for Corporations, LLPs, LLCs, Partnerships, Small Business, Startups, and others involving corporate law.

If you are seeking a business lawyer, or for information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel to represent your business in connection with any legal matter, contact [email protected] or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation.


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