It has been almost a year since we had a story on Frank’s Tire and Automotive in Bethel Park, Pa and a lot has happened in the last year. When I met Frank, he was in the middle of a nasty PR dispute with a gentleman that was unhappy with the cost of service that was provided by Frank’s Auto Service Company. The person that was unhappy wrote letters, contacted the BBB, and wrote negative reviews online wherever he could find them. I’m not here to take sides or say one party was wrong or one party was right, that is completely between them. This interests me because so many people these days are flocking to the internet to provide reviews and share their experiences. What are the ethics behind posting negative reviews online and the ethics behind all of the positive ones out there as well?
Reputation management in Pittsburgh is such a hot issue right now because of the number of people that are now online. All of your businesses history and information is now online for all the world to see. There are even sites such as Rip-Off-Report and Pissed-Off-Consumer that collect negative reviews and allow business owners to respond to them. In my opinion, the best way to carry that on would be to allow both sides to present their side and allow the people reading the reviews to make their own decision.
So far Frank has been pretty mellow about the whole situation. He showed me a book with hundreds of letters from satisfied customers that he has collected over the years that he proudly displays in the lobby of his auto repair store in Bethel Park. The person that wrote negative reviews about Frank’s Tire has gone as far as building a website and naming it (FrankstireandAutomotive.com) The laws of the internet allow this and right now there is nothing that Frank can do to get that website removed or pulled down. It’s quite a shame that it has had to go to this point, but when people aren’t happy these days, they take it out online instead of in-person.
A few key points to remember if someone has written a negative review about your company is that they cannot mention one of your employees by name, If they do, you can ask whatever service they left a negative review on to delete it and more than likely they will.