For many, leaving a negative review is the only way to fight back when they’ve been treated poorly, received bad service or simply got ghosted by a company that took their money.
But before you publish an angry review online that can be seen by thousands, if not more, consider taking the following steps to avoid legal repercussions, including walking away and never hitting “return.”
Write a draft
When writing a bad review, write a draft. That way, you can refine your words and not make the terrible mistake of publishing it prematurely, or worse, by mistake.
Once you’re finished, walk away from it for a few hours. Even let someone else read it. A little distance provides clarity. Feedback will ensure you don’t publish something you’ll later regret.
Stick to the Facts
Simply state the facts about the incident. Don’t embellish, insult or make threats. Here are a few examples of what to write and what not to write:
- “The food was undercooked.”
- “It took 30 minutes for the waiter to take our order.”
- “We paid for a new roof and it’s still leaking.”
- “The food sucks. They don’t know how to cook. The meat was raw and smelled funny.”
- “The waiter didn’t know what he was doing. He kept flirting with customers while we were left to fend for ourselves.”
- “Their workmanship was shoddy. They used cheap materials. Showed up late. Charged more than the service was worth.”
Document your experience. Take photos and videos to back up your claim. Keep in mind sharing them on social media channels could create a problem. However, your evidence will help your case if you plan to take said business to court.
Note that if you plan to sue, don’t publish a bad review. Share your experience with an attorney who will speak for you. Let the law be your muscle.
Remember to behave and act honestly and justly even if you haven’t been treated with the same regard. Your good behavior will pay off in the end.