Removing Google reviews
Is there an automatic right to remove a negative Google review about my business?
Unfortunately, no! Though some people may claim otherwise. However, there are a range of different legal and other strategies that may well achieve takedown. These depend, amongst other things, on the content of the review and who posted it.
What should I do first?
We suggest that you take a screenshot of the review. That way you have a record in case it is removed or changed.
If you’d like to consult us, we suggest that you do so as soon as possible. Obviously we’ll need to see the review. And it’s helpful if you can also give us some background context and provide relevant documents at the outset.
What’s the best strategy to get the review deleted?
Well, this can vary depending on the context. Do you know, or are you at least fairly sure, who left the review? Or are they completely anonymous. Is the review defamatory? If this is a dispute with a genuine customer, can you easily prove that their story is untrue? Is the review or reviewer fake? Is it part of a campaign of harassment? Does the review breach Google’s content policy?
Options can include:
- Flagging the review.
- Making a complaint to Google via one of the different complaint routes available.
- Sending a legal letter to the person who posted the review.
- Going to court, e.g., to find out the reviewer’s identity.
- Responding to the review.
- Doing nothing!
How long do I have to remove the Google review?
You may decide to just leave the review as is. That may well be a sensible decision depending on the situation. But please bear in mind that there is generally a 12-month time limit to go to court for defamation. And that this usually runs from the date of the post. Yes, removing Google reviews by going to court is expensive and likely to be a last-resort in only the most serious cases. But if you find later that the review is causing more of a problem than you expected, your legal options will be drastically limited after that deadline passes.