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Many people rely on online reviews as a guideline before purchasing from specific businesses. Therefore, having negative online reviews for your business can be a serious concern. However, it would help if you kept in mind that the internet is available to everyone; therefore, people can easily post false online reviews of your business.

This article will outline how you can identify untrustworthy online reviews and whether you can remove false or offensive ones.

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Why Are Online Reviews Important?

Now with easy access to the internet, consumers can research a wide variety of products and services before making a purchase. Furthermore, consumers often have a strong desire to know everything about the service they are purchasing or the product they are buying. This means online reviews can often have a significant impact. 

Online reviews are generally the first impression potential customers will have of your business. Additionally, people are much more likely to remember and share negative reviews than positive ones. 

Even just one negative review can cause severe reputational damage to your business.

Moreover, customers often influence each other and tend to advise on the best goods and services available. Therefore, customers generally refer to online reviews to determine which product or service is best for them. 

How Can I Identify Untrustworthy Online Reviews?

When looking for an untrustworthy review, there are a few things you should look out for. First, if the review site has a verification process, you should look for reviews that unverified commentators make. 

Additionally, you should ensure that a ‘review bomber’ does not leave a negative review. These people will leave many reviews of a product or company because they have negative feelings towards it. 

You may have a review bomber if you can see tens or even hundreds of reviews on your product or sites. Generally, other customers are sensible enough to discount these reviews because they are so false. However, you can take legal action against these reviews under the Harmful Digital Communications Act if you feel that the reviews border on harassment. 

Why is It Important That You Can Remove False or Offensive Reviews

While customers will likely be able to identify blatantly false reviews, you should keep an eye out on your online reviews to see if any appear that may be offensive or inappropriate. You cannot delete bad reviews of your business unless they are offensive or completely inappropriate. Otherwise, you risk misrepresenting your business, which can result in severe legal penalties. 

Whether or not you can delete reviews depends on the review site. For example, Google Reviews allow the removal of reviews that are:

Additionally, Google Reviews may take steps to delete spam messages automatically. If you are signing your business up for online review sites, you should consider the policies of the online review site. You should ensure that the review site has good processes to delete spam or offensive reviews. Otherwise, you risk damaging your business’s reputation if you do not have the appropriate methods to remove these reviews. 

Don’t Discount Genuine Negative Reviews

You cannot freely delete any bad reviews of your business, as this could amount to misrepresentation. Furthermore, doing this could result in serious legal consequences. 

However, you should still pay attention to bad reviews and use them as a tool to improve your business. Additionally, note where people say there are gaps in your business’s operations and work to improve them. Showing that you are attentive to your customers’ opinions and able to work to improve is a good sign and will likely improve your business’s reputation. 

Leaving a comment on the negative review explaining that you recognise the customer’s concerns and that you are working to improve your business is an excellent way to show this. Do not angrily comment on bad reviews of your business. This will only further damage your business’s reputation.

Key Takeaways

Online reviews have a significant impact on consumers engaging with your business. Therefore, ensuring that false or inappropriate reviews do not damage your business’s reputation is essential. Make sure that you choose good review sites with clear policies that allow you to remove false or offensive reviews. 

If you need help understanding how your business can take steps against harmful online reviews, our experienced eCommerce lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I delete negative online reviews of my business? 

No, this may amount to misrepresentation, which can have serious legal consequences. You must have a genuine reason for deleting a negative review, such as the review being derogatory, explicit, or offensive.

What reviews am I able to delete?

You can delete reviews that are spam, offensive or inappropriate. Check to see if your business’s review sites will allow you to delete harmful and false reviews. 

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