Better Business Bureau: Companies Can’t Silence Negative Reviews
Better Business Bureau (BBB) (bbb.org/nebraska) is educating businesses on The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) warning that companies can’t silence negative reviews posted online by their customers. The FTC has recently issued administrative complaints against several businesses they say threatened consumers with legal action if they posted negative customer reviews. It discovered illegal gag clauses in contracts at five businesses across the country, including rental companies and a Massachusetts-based flooring company. The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 prohibits companies from including any language in a contract that would prevent consumers from posting negative reviews.
BBB realizes that, if you’re a business owner, chances are you’ll probably receive a negative or neutral review at some point. Although your first reaction may be to defend your business and prove the customer wrong, it’s important to keep calm and respond in a rational and thoughtful way.
When you’re drafting your response to the customer, apologize that their expectations were not met and thank them for their feedback. Remember that apologizing does not necessarily admit fault. If it’s something you can rectify, ask to speak to them offline. Provide them with an email address or a phone number where you can be reached. Even if you don’t think they will contact you, it’s important for other people reading your reviews to know that you’ve been responsive.
Better Business Bureau has been serving the local communities since 1936. The overall mission of BBB is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Learn more online at bbb.org/nebraska or call (800) 649-6814.