Sep 6, 2016
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Good morning all

A business I look after has had a negative G-review from a customer who was particularly unpleasant and abusive to staff. The business is a massage therapist - he came in expecting a lot more than a massage and was disappointed when it was not provided!

I have replied to and flagged the review. The content of the review was sort-of appropriate, but the content of the messages he later sent are definitely not

Is there anything else I can do to have it removed?

Knowledge graph is here: and the review in question is the recent 1*

It's really depressing that not only does this guy get to insult all the staff (Met Police will get his details but undoubtedly will do nothing), he then gets to defame the business on Google! (Rant over)

Thank you


Sep 6, 2016
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Update: after speaking to GMB (which I'm sure some of you would have recommended doing) they confirmed that the review doesn't violate their policy and so (even though the reviewer's behaviour in direct communications violates just about every policy) it won't be removed.

I offered to provide the separate correspondence from him and they weren't interested

Pretty disappointing that Google has no way of escalating or making any subjective judgements (and we pay AdWords a lot of money, so they are certainly not exercising any favouritism!)
Oct 25, 2013
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Joy Hawkins, one of the other top contributors here wrote an article on this topic last week. I'm sorry to hear what happened, and I'm not surprised you ran into trouble while trying to get Google to clean things up. I've very rarely seen anyone have success in cases like yours, it's generally better to try and respond to the negative review appropriately, and as part of your business process, regularly ask satisfied customers to leave you a review. You can streamline things with a good review link to make sure people find the right place to leave a review. On the plus side, a solid 5 star review in a lot of ways looks less believable than a 4.7, so as long as you keep the positive reviews flowing in, you'll still have a great reputation for prospective clients to see when looking for a massage therapist.


Sep 6, 2016
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Thanks for pointing me to that article (and to Joy for writing it!). Totally agree with the point about unfair bias towards customers. I do think that where businesses can produce evidence of bad customer behaviour that GMB help desk people should be able to take a subjective view about removing a review..


Apr 16, 2017
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I got the same issues, I'm beauty therapist, the website don't remove the negatives reviews, this is very upset😩

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Thanks for pointing me to that article (and to Joy for writing it!). Totally agree with the point about unfair bias towards customers. I do think that where businesses can produce evidence of bad customer behaviour that GMB help desk people should be able to take a subjective view about removing a review..

Hi Chris, while I can see how it would seem like that when thinking about one specific case - Google works en masse. They would probably have to pay 20 extra people if they were going to take on investigating reviews worldwide. And so often it's he said & has proof/she said and has proof. So playing review cop, judge and jury I don't think would be possible.

Eric Rohrback

Oct 3, 2012
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I'm going to be really honest here, so don't take this as me trying to be anything but helpful. Whoever responded to the 1 star review you mentioned lost some credibility in the first sentence.

The response starts off with, "Dear Roy, I think we need to correct some facts here." Combating abusive with abusive is a good way to turn the mass against you. Always remind your client before they respond that facts may be misstated by the customer. It happens; we're all human.

From an outsiders point of view, I would agree with Google by not touching this review. I think the response actually makes it worse. In no point of the review does he mention any specifics about the appointment (beyond the leg vs back issue), but the response called out some... behavior they remember seeing from the client. This was not substantiated in the initial review.

If I put myself in Roy's shoes, I would be mad. If he notices the review response, then he could feel embarrassed. When someone gets embarrassed online, they tend to over-correct in their responses. Be on the lookout for more negative reviews from this person, which is possible.

The review response looked like it was trying to blast his reputation, not correct the problem. I think the review response hurts more than the review (personal opinion).

yelp has a great article on what to do with reviews - - not surprising, since they're 2nd when we tend to think of where to get reviews for a business.

Joy's responses to negative reviews are fantastic. Using them for this situation, the response could have looked more like:

"I am very sorry about your experience. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional service to each and every client. I have reviewed your appointment with our massage therapist, and we are both very sorry we couldn't meet your expectations.

Unfortunately, as you mentioned we do not let walk-in clients pick the therapist. That is because we schedule bookings days and sometimes weeks in advance. It would be unfair to a customer who has already scheduled with their trusted therapist.

Please call me right away at (insert phone #) direct extension (enter extension) and I will personally ensure you get connected with a therapist to discuss your leg issue. I want to extend my apology for the misunderstanding, and hope you will give us another try. Thank you. (owner name)"

Once again, realize I'm trying to share a subjective opinion on this case. You say he insulted the staff, which could be possible. Unfortunately I can't tell that from the review. All I know is what he wrote. Bringing those facts in have a 50/50 chance of helping or hurting the business. To me, they hurt the business. It makes me wonder if I should be honest with them or if they will blast my review, and undermine my credibility.

Responding to negative reviews sucks. There's nothing fun about it. The ultimate goal should always be to try and either A) Get them back in the door to try the business again & adjust the review or B) Show how caring and understanding the business actually is.

Talk with the business owner about all their reviews/responses. Play devils advocate to show different ways people could interpret the review/responses. If they can't take a neutral stance when responding, then they need to have someone else respond to the reviews. Keep insults and criminal matters away from public view, and don't bring it up unless the customer mentions them first.
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