Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Posted on: November 5, 2019

If only those were magic words that could make an entirely fake negative review disappear. But, they are not, and will not. Although feel free to scream it out anyway.

No, unfortunately fake reviews, which are almost always negative, take much more time and effort to deal with; along with a good measure of self-control. Different platforms have different processes, but here’s how to request the removal of a fake Google review (and the first few steps apply to all platforms).

First, investigate. Just because the review is negative, doesn’t prove that it’s fake. Try to identify the user. Ask staff about any circumstances similar to the review. Maybe the situation has been blown out of proportion. Do your best to find out if there is any truth to the review.

Next, draft a response as if it was a valid complaint. Why? Because even if you do get it deleted, it will take time. Don’t respond online yet, just draft. Take a breather, and go back to it again. This is a really good opportunity for you to show your customers and potential customers that you care about them and the quality of the products or services you provide. Learn more about responding to negative reviews in this great article.

Here’s an example: I’m so sorry you had this experience. We have initiated an investigation but are unable to identify you by your user name. Please call Bev at 1-800-222-2222 with your purchase details so we can rectify this situation with you and ensure that it never happens to anyone else.

Google’s rules are: “Contributions must be based on real experiences and information. Deliberately fake content, copied or stolen photos, off-topic reviews, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect content are all in violation of our policy.” There are other rules as well, and you should read them.

Now, get the process going with Google.

  • From your PC, sign in to Google My Business. (If you don’t have an account, start here.)
  • If you have more than one location in your account, go into card view and click Manage location for the business/location where the review appears.
  • Go to the menu and click Reviews.
  • Find the review, click on the three dots, and then click Flag as inappropriate.​

If the review is associated with Google Maps:

  • Go to maps, and find your business name using search.
  • Select your business from the search results.
  • In the panel on the left, scroll to the “Review summary” section.
  • Under the average rating, click [number of] reviews.
  • Scroll to the fake review, click the three dots, then click the Flag icon.

Complete the form in the window that appears, making sure that you clearly state how the review contravenes Google’s rules. Click Submit.

Now you have to be patient for a few days. If the fake review is still there four days later, take the next step.

  • Get in touch with a Google Small Business Support associate.
  • Log into your Google My Business account.
  • Go to the Reviews section.
  • Click on the home menu and select Support.
  • Choose a method of Contact – Phone or Email.
  • Fill in the requested contact information. Add a screenshot of the review in question.

You should hear back with two days.

You can also send a tweet to the support team, @GoogleSmallBiz, preferably from your own business Twitter account.

As always, if you want help, just give us a call.