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Crazy Responses to Yelp Reviews: Bad Online Review Management Gone Even Worse (tigers)

A bad online review can be soul-crushing to a passionate business owner. We know. We understand. We’ve tracked online reviews for our thousands of customers from sites like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, among many others – and we’ve sometimes come across reviews that really do sound unfair, out-of-line, and below-the-belt.

On the other hand, we can’t escape the fact that there are just a lot of freaks on the Internet. For business owners – and believe us, not even the biggest, best brands in the world are immune to bad reviews – the important thing to remember is not to get too carried away, not to get too passionate. Bad reviews happen. What you cannot let happen is writing over-emotional, angry responses to these reviews.

Not too long ago, we posted something about what NOT to do when carrying out your online review management efforts. Well, we recently found more non-exemplary cases, so today we’re adding to the list with the hope that you won’t make the same mistakes that these business owners did.

Don’t attack the Yelper in his house 

The female owner of the now-closed Ocean Avenue Books in San Francisco got a two-star rating from Yelper Sean. This was apparently enough to push over the edge. After several rounds of cyber-attacks, she went to Sean’s house, forced her way in, and got into a wrestling match with her reviewer.

“This is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me,” Sean said later. “If I had a gun she’d probably be dead right now.”

Needless to say, it’s a case of bad review management (and anger management) gone even worse. Ocean Avenue Books is now closed. The owner was cited for battery and taken to a center for mental health intervention.

Avoid calling out your customers as “Internet tough guys” 

Yelper Brandon had a horrible experience at the Radiator Doctor, an auto repair shop in California. So he wrote a bad review and gave the business a one-star rating on Yelp. Dale, the owner of the Radiator Doctor, was not happy. In an impassioned response, Dale called Brandon a “LITTLE BOY,” challenged the latter’s manhood, and called him out for hiding behind a computer and “playing the role of INTERNET TOUGH GUY.”

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Oh boy. We don’t know about you, but if we see this on a Yelp business page, we’re not going to be likely to visit the place. Management response on various review sites speaks volumes of the people behind the business, and in this case, it sounds very loud.

Did we mention that the Radiator Doctor is also now closed?

Don’t be passive-aggressive 

If you check out Noble Pie Parlor’s Yelp page, you’ll notice that it actually seems to be doing well. So far, the restaurant has received 136 reviews, an aggregated rating of 4 out of 5 stars, and review highlights that say the place offers “a damn tasty slice in the heart of downtown (Reno).”

We did catch something that would be a no-no in online review management: passive-aggressive behavior, specifically by Noble Pie Parlor owner Trevor. “We’re a bit confused about what you mean by fine print,’” he wrote as a response to a one-star review. “All in all it seems like you are real unhappy person with poor time management skills that is on the computer slandering small businesses on Yelp instead of looking at the business info tab to see that our hours are also clearly stated for each day of operation.”

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Here’s another response that Trevor wrote, addressed to a Yelper who’d called out the hipster toppings. “I sent you a private message to converse with you on this subject, and you responded publicly so I will too. When I eat a restaurant there may be things on the menu I’m not particularly fond of. So if I don’t like them I don’t order them. No one is forcing you to buy something you don’t like. If you want a slice of pepperoni then get a slice of pepperoni! However, unlike you, I wouldn’t get online and slam a local business for having an item on the menu I didn’t like, call them ‘hipster toppings’ and pass judgment on the people eating in the restaurant then blame it on the restaurant.”

Actually, the rest of Trevor’s responses are not that bad, at least compared to other business owners.  Also, we’re still fascinated by ‘hipster toppings.’ Obvi.

Don’t stop bottomless Mimosas 

Some business owners are so passionate that their only response to bad review is intended to drive customers away. At least that’s the case with Hill Street Grill in Reno, where owner Nigel threatened to stop his signature bottomless Mimosas in order to ensure that Mimosa-loving Yelper Erika never came back. Ouch. Sorry, Nigel, but we’re not raising a toast to you.

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Guess what: Hill Street Grill is also now closed. We guess there’s just something that links a business closing down to having its reputation damaged, while business was open, by bad online review management.

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(Image credit: Inspired Taste)

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Julia

    Seems like a dangerous profession. 😀

  2. Mark Dee

    Wow, some people really don’t have a break when you hit a nerve. Although sometimes it happens that worst people serve you the best food, it all depends on how much you are willing to overlook the attitude I guess.

  3. Glenn

    This attorney is disrespectful and utterly unprofessional. I currently have an open Bar complaint against him and the state found sufficient evidence to pursue the complaint due to the evidence provided. I suggest you do your due diligence before you hire such a horrible and unprofessional attorney.
    Response from the ownerin the last week
    It was Nice of Jose Navas, of Flickhouse Studios, to stop by and leave me a backhanded compliment. Jose Navas is my opponent in a very contested family law matter in Miami Dade County Florida. The local case number is : 2015-7072 FC04 anyone who is curious and look it up on line to see how badly Mr. Navas is fairing in this matter. Mr. Navas is only allowed to see his son , who is approximately 18 months old, twice a week for a few hours each time and the visits are supervised. Jose Navas is required to pay for the supervisor. Think about how pathetic a parent has to be to only allowed to have supervised visits with his child since he was born? Jose Navas is that pathetic and then some. Jose Navas has been arrested on nearly 10 occasions and has no respect for the law or rules of our society. Jose Navas has a pending criminal case in Broward County Florida. Jose Navas is also mentally unstable, part of the reason he needs to be supervised when visiting his child, and during the past 10 years has never held steady employment and earned a decent living. He has been incarcerated and held in immigration detention for a significant period of time. Flickhouse Studios holds no business license in the State of Florida and has never been incorporated. It is Jose Navas operating a camera out of his house. Speaking of houses Jose Navas is 34 years old and still lives with his Mommy. When is Jose going to grow up and get a place of his own? Jose Navas had to be forced under court order to support the son he purports to love. During the child’s first 10 months on earth Jose Navas missed about 90% of his child support payments. He was ordered to pay for arrearages. Jose Navas had a domestic violence injunction filed against him by the mother of his child and rather than contest it he just stipulated to an order prohibiting contact between he and his ex wife. Jose Navas has been found to be in contempt of court and required to pay my legal fees. Jose Navas in a recent interview, to promote a video he produced, indicated that he was some sort of a real estate mogul before going into film making, nothing could be further from the truth. He held a real estate license over ten years ago and lost it because he did not attend continuing education courses. In other words Jose Navas doesn’t always tell the truth. If you want to verify any of this information just log on to the Miami Dade Clerk of the Court’s website and look for yourself. The bottom line is Jose Navas is just angry that he has had a case in court for well over a year, he has used 3 lawyers, and accomplished very little. This is not because of his lawyers it is because Jose Navas is a very regrettable human being.