Charging A $500 Fine For Leaving A Bad Review Online? Don't Try It.

Online reviews are problematic for a lot of medical spas, dermatologists and plastic surgeons, but trying to stime opinions is not the way to go.

You may have some negative reviews somewhere, but it can devistate your business if you try and implement anything that smacks of manipulation or bias... just ask the Union Stree Guest House.

This buisiness implemented a policy of trying to fine customers $500 for any negative reviews that they (or any members of their party) posted online.

Hundreds of people took to Yelp to compalin and write fake negative reviews that immediately raised the ranking and effectively took over the top rankings when searching for the business.... not what you want.

Yelp removed the majority since they weren't 'first hand' reviews but the damage was done.

Making any attempt to try and prevent your patients or clients from talking about their experience or voicing their opinions is both bad policy, and unenforceable.

Screen shots that were taken of the website showing the policy, which has now been removed, read "there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event."

From a story about this on CNN: Yelp reviewer posted complaints about the policy last year after he posted a negative Yelp review. "The management of this hotel had the gall to email us twice to threaten us financially about the negative review!" wrote one reviewer, whose Yelp handle is Rabih Z.

He continues: "Here is an excerpt from their first email: 'please note that your recent on-line review of our Inn will cost the wedding party that left us a deposit $500. This money be charged via the deposit they have left us unless/until it is removed. Any other or future reviews will also be charged to the wedding party (bride & groom) from the guarantee they have provided us.'"

Other parts of the hotel's website are a little cranky, too. One example: "We reserve the right to cancel a reservation at any time for any reason." Another policy about cancellations: "If your stay is longer than 3 days we do not accept cancellations of any kind."

Negative reviews are going to cost you revenue and impact your business, but trying to censor or stimie people online is only going to backfire and in the worst cases can really put you behind the eight-ball. The answer is to have your patients raving about your care and services.