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What Can I Do About A Fake Review?

People are busy, and we don’t have the time to experience all the places and things we want to connect with. We rely on reviews (wisely or not) to help us choose the things we might buy or go to the places we’re thinking about visiting. 

Whether buying a car or a blender, going to a restaurant, or a vacation destination, you’ll probably look to reviews to help you decide. Unfortunately, many reviews are fake as a business litigation lawyer knows all too well, and these fake reviewers take advantage of our reliance on them. 

How Do I Know If A Review Is Fake?

Hubspot has some suggestions: 

  • Fake reviews often include details that are irrelevant to the complaint. The person is trying to convince readers they’re a real person who experienced the product or business, and details might seem convincing
  • The extra mental work needed to create a fake review can result in a message with simpler wording. Fake reviews are more likely to use words that aren’t long or complex. Their focus is on inventing a credible story, not showing off their vocabulary
  • Fake reviews often feature multiple exclamation marks!!!!  The fake reviewer may be trying to stir up negative emotions. Genuine reviews will focus more on events and facts than emotions. The reviewer will probably want to provide actionable feedback, not a firehose of negativity
  • Have they created other reviews in the same industry or geographical area? Depending on the platform, you can see what other reviews, if any, were made. If you’re the only review, chances are better it’s a fake. It may not be genuine if they focus on your industry and are continuously pumping up one company or product. Another warning sign is reviews of local businesses that are all over the place. What are the chances an actual person will continuously visit local coffee shops in multiple cities and states within a short period?
  • If there are multiple reviews made soon after each other, the fake reviewer is probably creating them in large numbers, then creating a new account to prevent detection

After you decide a review is fake, you can choose what to do next.

What Can You Do About A Fake Online Review?

Depending on the review platform, you may log in, flag the review, ask that it be removed, and explain why according to our friends at Focus Law LA. If that doesn’t work, you can respond online in a professional, unemotional way. You can state that you looked into the complaint and explain why you think it’s fake and shouldn’t be relied upon. 

Online reviews are powerful influences on consumer behavior. Positive ones can drive your business forward, and negative ones can set you back. If fake, negative complaints swamp your company and you think they’re a threat either to the safety or viability of your company, you should contact your attorney and discuss your options. You might be the target of an unethical competitor who’s hired someone to harm your business so they can succeed.