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    5 Things To Consider Before Writing An Online Review
    Posted: 2010-09-07 08:07:48

    Emotions run high after a negative experience, especially when it involves money. Whether it is a resort that is somewhat different than advertised or a purchase that was not what you expected, we’ve all had been in situations where we have felt “cheated”.

    Some of these situations usually do not set us back more than $500, so most people decide it’s not worth it to file a Small Claim. Instead, they turn to the Internet to vent their frustrations.

    Below are 5 things you should consider before typing up a review online (or sending an email or letter).

    1. Wait before you write. Let you emotions settle before writing an online review or comment. The best decisions are made with a clear mind. If you are upset, you may write something you may regret later.

    2. Watch your words. What you write online can be seen by anyone. If you go to court, what you write can also be used against you. If you contradict yourself, writing one thing online and then later denying it, this can be used in a Small Claims Action against you.

    3. Be honest and fair. Don’t use malicious or hurtful statements against someone else (i.e “liar”, “fraud”, “thief”).  Don’t write anything that is untrue or cannot be proven in court. This is called libel or slander, and can be an actionable claim.  If you later decide to bring a claim against this person or company, they can counter claim for defamation.

    4. It’s about you, not them. Focus on what happened and what you experienced, not on how you feel about the other person or company (i.e. “he ripped me off”, “stay away from this bum”).  This also could be used as a counterclaim, or used to discredit your own claim. Instead, focus on the experience or event using your thoughts and feelings, from your own perspective (i.e. “I had a horrible experience”, “I felt bad”, “I was not happy with the service”).

    5. Stick to the facts. Statements like “Joe did not provide me with X, even though we had an agreement” or “The crew was supposed to come at 8 am, but didn’t show up until after 2 pm” are valuable because they provide concrete details and are hard to dispute. Include clear and detailed facts to support your review.

    When drafting your review of the site, product or service, also consider the following questions:

    • Will you be using this service or have to rely on this company in the future?

    • How will your review impact, or not impact, any future working relationships with the person or company?

    Writing an honest, factual review is sometimes a better idea than pursuing a Small Claims action. At the same time, however, if your situation warrants filing a Small Claims action, weigh the facts and the damages, and make an informed decision with a clear mind before writing an online review.

    Image: Maggie Smith /

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.