Guide to Disputing Negative Reviews

Previously, we offered advice on how business owners can use negative reviews to their advantage, however, there are occasions when reviews are simply unfounded, libelous and even fake.

While one local Austin company decided to take their review woes to court, directly contacting review sites and reviewers is often a more effective and expedient course of action.


Major local search providers, such as Yelp, Google Places and Yahoo Local, all offer business owners avenues to resolve or dispute negative user reviews. If ever you find yourself at the mercy of an acrimonious review, this guide to disputing online reviews can help you gain control of your business’ online reputation.


Google Places

If a review violates Google’s guidelines for reviews, Google Places business owners can request its removal by clicking the Flag as inappropriate link on the review itself. Among others, criteria for removal include dishonesty, second-hand reporting and inappropriate content.


If you’re attempt to remove a user comment fails, you can publicly respond to reviews posted directly on Google via the “Reviews by Google users” section in your Google Places account.



With the recent integration of Yelp reviews into Bing local search results, it’s becoming more important to keep an eye on Yelpers. If you feel a review on Yelp! is unfair or fake, you can contact the Yelper privately or respond publicly to their comments. Respond publicly from your business account by navigating to the Reviews tab and finding the comment in question.


Though, Yelp won’t delete reviews (unless they are vulgar), it also doesn’t hurt to contact the user-support team at Yelp if you feel a review doesn’t comply with Yelp’s content guidelines.


Yahoo Local

Businesses on Yahoo! Local can dispute negative reviews they believe violate the search engine’s guidelines and Terms of service, including the posting of false, libelous or harmful content.


To file a complaint on Yahoo! Local, click Report Abuse on the review you would like to dispute. Alternatively, businesses can comment on user reviews, as can the general public, by clicking on the Comment on Review link.



The king of online hotel ratings, TripAdvisor, allows hotel managers to dispute illegitimate reviews, as outlined in the site’s guidelines for traveler reviews section of its Help Center.


If you receive a illegitimate review, you can launch an internal TripAdvisor investigation from the Management Center under Report a Review.


Additionally, owners can respond to a review from the Management Center by selecting the Write a management response. Read over the Management Response Guidelines to ensure your message is posted.


Disputing online user reviews is often a difficult process. All the major review sites tend to side with consumers, with the burden of proof resting on the business owner’s shoulders. Using these tips may in part help you dispute or remove on local service provider reviews site, and protect your online reputation without legal action.


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