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Consumer

3-On Your Side: Online Reviews

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The next time you jump on your phone or computer and leave an online review for a company, be warned, you might get a phone call or email from the business asking you to take it down! 3 On Your Side Consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds some companies are now fighting back against negative critiques and sometimes not in a nice way!

When Eric Winick wrote this online review for a restaurant, he raved about the food, but with a fidgety two year old in tow, he complained that dinner took an hour to be served.

“I said in the review that they had taken a ridiculously long time to bring the food,” said Winick.

He was surprised to get this email from the restaurant’s owner asking him to take the review down.

“He said that something along the lines of ‘we’re trying to make a go of it in this area, we all have families to feed’ and sort of trying to prey on my sympathies a little bit,” said Winick.

In fact more businesses across the country are reaching out to customers who leave bad reviews and they’re not always trying to make amends. Sometimes things get nasty.

Earlier this year an Atlanta restaurant got into an online food fight of sorts on Facebook and Twitter, slamming a customer who left a bad review.

The effect web posts now have on companies can make or break their reputation.

“A single person can now go home and get on Facebook and tell 500 or 1000 people what they think of your restaurant,” said social media expert, Patrick O’Malley.

“In the last few years it has changed the way we have done business,” said Zalmi Duchman, founder of FreshDiet.com

Zalmi Duchman is among the business owners who have made the request to remove reviews. He explains to customers how damaging negative comments can be and asks them to remove them.

Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it does.

“We’ve found in the past the faster you react to the customer the better chance you’re going to have to get that customer to remove their negative review because they see you take their comments and their feedback seriously,” said Duchman.

While a bad review can keep customers away, a good one is like money in the bank.

A Harvard Business School study found that a one star increase in a businesses’ rating on the online review site Yelp, leads to a five to nine percent boost in revenue for independent restaurants.