35 Of The Funniest Business Comebacks To Negative Fake Reviews
Nearly everyone is aware that online reviews have become the new word of mouth. Whether you want to get a new haircut, fix up your bike, or check out that Italian restaurant your friends go on and on about, often the first thing you'll do is look the place up.
But when anyone with an internet connection can twist the truth with the sole purpose of taking revenge or tearing down the business, there’s a myriad of fake evaluations. Luckily, we sometimes get a taste of sweet justice when the business owners themselves stumble upon these falsehoods and choose to do everyone a public service by rightfully calling them out.
To celebrate their clap-back replies, members of the Quit Your BS subreddit decided to document their attempts to protect their reputation and share screenshots with the whole community. Below, you’ll find some of the best responses Bored Panda has collected from the page, so continue scrolling and upvote the ones you enjoyed reading the most!
To learn more about this false review phenomenon and the questionable tactics some raters and commenters use today, we reached out to Curtis Boyd, founder of The Transparency Company. They strive to help consumers work with higher quality businesses with real feedback by predicting whether a business has earned their reviews or paid for them.
"A bad review can make or break a business," he told Bored Panda. "They can have a profound impact, especially if they are detailed and describe a terrible first-person consumer experience."
"People read online reviews because they know what they want, but are shopping for experiences that they want for themselves. When they read experiences that don't align with their wishes, they will easily search elsewhere," he added.
In theory, online reviews should be forthcoming and provide real information about the places people wish to visit, services they want to try, or products they plan to buy. But just like the internet can be an endless source of wonder, it's a pretty shady place as well.
The yearly Local Consumer Review Survey analyzes how consumers use online reviews to select, trust, and understand companies offering services or products in their local area. It found that 49% trust consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. Considering that this number was much higher in 2020 (79% to be exact), it reveals the public’s trust in online reviews has significantly dropped, and fake reviews seem to be one of the leading causes of their doubts.
More than half of consumers, 62%, believe they've seen a fake review for a local business last year. The top three reasons that make them believe the posted feedback might be false are when it is over-the-top in its praise, it is anonymous or uses an obvious pseudonym, and when there are many other evaluations similar in content. So curiously, this shows that potential clients are probably more cautious of positive fake reviews than negative ones.
Boyd told Bored Panda that people normally leave fake reviews because they were hired to. "In 2019, Google removed 55 million fake reviews. In 2020, Google removed 75 million fake reviews. In 2021, Google removed 95 million fake reviews (that's 260,000 per day) — in my opinion, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Most of them were positive, that violated their 'TOS' [Terms of Service]," he revealed. "Buying fake reviews is a multi-billion dollar industry that most people are completely unaware of."
If you’re wondering how to spot them online, Boyd explained it can be easily done on sites like Google and Yelp by clicking on the profile. Then, it's time to put our thinking caps on and raise a couple of questions: "I ask myself, is there a nice diversity of businesses they have written reviews for (cafe, shoe stores, etc.)? Or are they all home service businesses?" He added that the lack of category diversity shows an "agenda".
Boyd also looks at where these people are writing reviews for businesses. "Does it look normal? Are others writing reviews for the sample businesses? Are others hiding their reviews using Google's anonymous feature?" If any of the answers to these questions are positive, he warned that it's a huge red flag.
As you’re scrolling through this compilation of screenshots, you’ll notice there are plenty of vengeful people online ready to leave bogus customer reviews. Such feedback might shatter the reputation a business has worked so hard to achieve. So no wonder when someone gives a restaurant or a shop a 1-star rating, some owners feel this irresistible impulse to react and fill everyone in on the big picture.
"Responses are important, and yes, it is important to call them out and say that the experience described isn't real," Boyd explained. "Responses give the owner a chance to brag about the typical customer experience they've been delivering for X number of years."
Unfortunately, the Local Consumer Review Survey found that only 26% of respondents would believe business owners who reply to reviews to call out any false accusations. So while responding to bogus claims is meaningful, it might not be enough. Owners should still go through the proper available channels to get fake reviews reported and removed.
When asked whether there are any other things businesses could do to fight false customer reviews, Boyd suggested visiting online forums like Local Search Forum, and Google Business Profile Support. He also advised you, dear readers, not to take reviews at face value. Remember that when it comes to this place we call the internet, it’s best to take everything with a little pinch of salt.