Do You Have Legal Recourse Over Negative YELP Reviews?

Date: August 25, 2017

YELP and other social media reviews can make or break a business—especially in restaurant, hospitality and other service industries. As a testament to that fact, a recent study found that restaurants with lower YELP reviews were especially likely to go out of business with a minimum wage hike. But in most cases a few negative reviews aren’t going to ruin your business.

In any event, its always best to remain professional when dealing with negative comments. The experts advise that you should politely respond to negative comments. But of course, that can be tricky. So NFIB has set up webinars and other resources to advise on best practice with YELP and on social media more broadly.

But often we receive calls from small business owners who are upset with YELP reviews and social media comments. In some cases they may have recourse directly by deleting comments from their own social media pages. And YELP will sometimes remove comments if they appear defamatory or illegitimate on their face

Of course, if someone has posted outright lies, there may be a potential for legal action. For example, in a high profile case, a wedding photographer recently won a judgment against a couple for allegedly defamatory statements on social media, which negatively affected her business. And there have been similar examples in recent years. Still, just because someone has said something false does not necessarily mean it’s a going to be worth running to court. While you can always retain an attorney to write a cease and desist letter, its generally not going to pay to pursue legal action unless you can demonstrate that libelous or defamatory comments have caused actual damages—in terms of lost business revenues.

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