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Written by
Katy Ratican
10 May 2021
5 minutes

Should you ever consider removing a bad Google review you wrote?

Whether a business owner or a customer, there are things to consider before removing a bad Google review
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The restaurant delivered the wrong order, or the plumbers turned up late, or the IT guys overcharged you. No matter what, you felt wronged and took it out on Google reviews by leaving a scathing review.

You also gave a one-star rating. No one can blame you because you had your reasons.

But now you wonder whether you were too harsh. Should you remove the Google review that you wrote? Are there times when Google reviews just shouldn’t be deleted? Well, it depends.

The importance of online reviews

Online reviews are crucial for the success or failure of small and independent businesses. They don’t have the marketing resources to constantly advertise their offerings or use influencers to further their reach. Online reviews are an excellent platform for them to build awareness and brand equity.

That’s also where consumers are finding out about businesses. Since the reviews (at least, most of them) are from genuine users, they reveal the true picture of a business. Real users are the best source for how an establishment treats its customers.

The fact that you left a review shows the power of the system.

So, you don’t have to feel guilty if your review was genuine. It will help other customers to make wiser choices. But there are occasions when you could consider deleting the negative review that you wrote.

If the business has solved the problem

Maybe you left the review after you were wrongly charged by the customer service or the carpet cleaners made a mess in your living room. You were enraged, you called the business but no one responded or the response was inadequate.

So you left the critical review and the low digit rating. Fair enough.

But let’s say that the business saw your review and reached out to you. They apologised and have solved the problem for you. They either refunded your amount or sent professionals to clean your house.

In such situations, you should consider removing the critical Google review, or updating it to include the corrective steps taken by the business. They have made a genuine attempt to resolve the issue. That shows that they take it seriously.

If you feel you went overboard

After the bad experience with the business, you couldn’t stop yourself from writing the most damning review you could think of. After a day or two, you realise that the language and tone are unlike you. What happened?

Maybe you were having a bad day. Maybe this was not the first unfortunate thing to happen to you and it all added up. Google reviews ended up being the outlet.

Later you read your review and couldn’t believe that you had used such harsh language and so many punctuation marks. It was anger in uppercase! So, you feel that you were being too critical. In such instances, removing or editing the review would be the right thing to do. We all make mistakes.

If you were angry at an entire category

Sometimes it could be a category issue. Probably this isn’t the first time it happened to you. You had ordered from other restaurants earlier and found the packaging to be poor. It was leaking all over your hands. But you never complained.

This time though, you had just had it with those cheap packaging from fast food outlets. So you opened Google reviews and heavily criticised the restaurant. But you weren’t angry at just one place. You were taking all your anger from past experiences against one place.

This could even extend to certain neighbourhoods. Your past negative experiences can compound until one day you unfairly take it all out on a business.

If so, you should think about taking down your negative Google review. Or, why not rephrase it to turn into constructive criticism rather than a damaging condemnation?

If what you said wasn’t true

Sometimes it’s entirely possible that parts of our Google reviews are inaccurate. Maybe you were confused about the name of the place and ended up criticising the wrong pet groomer. It happens.

Or maybe you were so cross that you laid it on a little thick and improvised around the truth. Either way, if you realise that what you said isn’t true, you know that you have to remove your negative Google review.

If you’ve had better experiences since then

Since you left that critical feedback about the local supermarket, you’ve had a chance to visit the place several times. And all those were better experiences. Nobody gave you the wrong order, nobody overcharged you, nobody was rude.

This makes you consider whether the bad incident was a one-off instance. They’ve clearly improved since then. The ethical thing to do would be to delete or edit your negative review about the place.

In short

You would be justified in leaving a bad review if the experience was unsatisfactory. But you could consider updating or amending the review if the business has taken steps to solve the problem or if you believe that the bad experience was an exception. You should also consider taking down your review if the language was harsh, or if the business has since then dramatically improved.

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