Consider this: A customer has a bad experience with your business. Frustrated, they take to the Internet to vent their concerns and include false, defamatory allegations. A few hours after they hit publish, they get a call. It’s your office apologizing for the error and going above and beyond to correct it. As the customer goes back online to remove their negative remark, they’re surprised to find out they can’t.
The review website where they vented their anger won’t allow them to remove their own posting.
This is a common scenario and one that poses a challenge for many businesses. Even though your office went beyond the call of duty to correct an issue, you’re publicly defamed and there’s seemingly nothing that can be done about it.
That’s where we come in. We’ve created an easy path to removing that review but to understand how it works and why it’s important, you have to understand a little more about these websites and how they operate.
How Review Websites Work
Websites, such as Pissed Consumer or Ripoff Report, won’t allow an author to remove content voluntarily. Once it’s published, it’s there permanently.
When the information is stuck on these websites, it remains in Google’s search index. That means it can still be found online by your prospective clients.
Can’t I Just Hire a Reputation Management Firm to Bury the Review?
Some reputation management firms aim to bury these pages in the search results. To do this, they publish a bulk of positive content with the goal of pushing the defamatory remarks down the search rankings with the hopes that eventually no one will see the content.
Although reputation management firms can sometimes push these webpages down, it is difficult because web pages from review and complaint websites rank highly in the Google search results.
Filing a Lawsuit
If filing a lawsuit seems overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. Most businesses don’t anticipate needing to file a lawsuit against a customer. Still, a lawsuit is a critical option to have, especially as your reputation depends on removing false, defamatory content from the Internet.
In order to have defamatory information removed from the Internet (not just buried), you must obtain a court order against the author of the defamatory report. With that order in hand, Google, as a matter of policy will honor the court’s wishes and remove that page from their search index.
What is an Amicable Lawsuit?
To remove the defamatory review from the Google search results, you must file a lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean it has to be hostile.
To make this procedure as easy as possible, we developed something we call the “Amicable Lawsuit.”
The Amicable Lawsuit is a very effective technique in quickly obtaining the removal of the defamatory review from the Google search results, minimizing your legal costs, and resolving the concerns of your customer.
We try to resolve the dispute with the author of the defamatory review immediately upon filing the lawsuit. As a term of settlement, the author agrees to the entry of the court order you need to obtain the removal of the defamatory webpage from Google. This approach only works if the author of the defamatory review agrees to settle the case. Often, we try to get the defendant to agree before we file the case.
Why the Amicable Lawsuit is the Best Approach
If you work with a reputation management firm, you’re not resolving the core issue. You’re not making the customer happy.
Filing an Amicable Lawsuit is good for both businesses and their customers.
First, it minimizes the damage done to your business’s reputation by removing the defamatory review much faster than pursuing reputation management or a hostile, adversarial lawsuit.
Second, it allows you to interact with the unhappy consumer, show that you’re concerned about their negative experience, and repair the damage done. Often when you do this, you can use a bad experience to not only mend the relationship but also win over the heart of a customer by showing how much you care about their experience with your business.
The Amicable Lawsuit is basically what you would do to mend a relationship with a dissatisfied customer if they could remove their negative review on their own, but you need the court order because the underlying complaint website won’t let the author remove the review themselves. The world we live in requires this extra step of obtaining a court order, as such we try to facilitate that as smoothly as possible.
Ready to Get Started?
We’re here to help. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how to use an Amicable Lawsuit to your business’s advantage.