How do I Remove from Business From Yelp
Today a former client told me that Yelp refused to remove his business and asked what his legal options were. This client is a small, one-man service shop without any employees. I asked him why he wanted to have his business removed from such a great resource for potential clients, and he told me he had received a bad review and it was negatively affecting his business. The business has four yelp reviews, three of which rated his business five stars, and one which rated his business two stars.
He had responded well to the critical two-star review. He accepted responsibility for the mistake, and explained that he no longer provided that kind of service.
Overall, I thought that he handled the negative review great. I really didn’t understand why he wanted to remove his business.
The Legaleese of Removing your Business from Yelp
I reviewed Yelp’s policies in preparation for our meeting. Yelp has a strict policy against removing any business listing. They also have a strict policy against deleting, removing, or otherwise modifying a user’s review. This makes sense, since Yelp’s business model is based on the idea that users receive reliable feedback on vendors. I started to think about potential claims against Yelp, but ran up short. Yelp doesn’t use the image or logo of the company unless you give them permission, so you’re unlikely to have a trademark claim.
Yelp avoids any sort of defamation claims by not providing subjective information. In fact, most busineses submit their business on purpose. In other words, the information that Yelp is providing is always true, and will never be subject to defamation.
Yelp’s users contribute reviews, and you may have some basis for a lawsuit against a reviewer (not against Yelp) if that person has made a false statement or claim about your business. But, all in all I didn’t really see a whole lot of options for this business owner to pursue. There may be other, more creative claims, but I couldn’t find any proof of any success here.
In other words, there’s not an easy legal method out.
What Can I do If Yelp Refuess to Remove My Business?
I explained to this client that we could try to pursue a claim against Yelp, but that it would be expensive. Paperwork them to death. Annoying them to the point that they’re happy to delist you just to stop paying their attorneys. Yelp has deep pockets, so this isn’t a viable strategy. And if it, it’s expensive. Spending money on a legal fight just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
In other words, it wasn’t really an option.
The Best Option
Your better option, if you’ve had some bad Yelp reviews, is to do what I explained to this business owner.
First, address the comments directly. Take ownership for their concerns and explain why and how you will fix those concerns for future clients. Something about the customer is always right.
Second, work on gathering more reviews from clients who are actually happy with your service. This particular client had one negative review and three positive reviews. By increasing his positive reviews, he will be able to make that negative review look more like an outlier, and not the norm. In this way, you’re able to effectively negate any effects of this negative review.
In short, many times people come to me looking for legal help, when legal help isn’t necessarily the most cost-efficient way of achieving their goals. In this case, I’d rather see the client spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing rather than on his lawyers.