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Fight Fake Or Unfair Negative Business Reviews

Unfair business reviews can be damaging to your business, so it’s important to find a way to address negative feedback without compromising your brand’s integrity. Our guide can help.

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Protect your Online Reputation from Fake Reviews

The Emotional Toll: More Than Just Words on a Screen

For small business owners, their enterprise isn’t just a job; it’s a passion, a dream brought to life. Negative reviews, particularly those that are unjustified, aren’t just seen as a critique of a product or service; they’re often felt as a personal attack. This emotional response is understandable. When you pour your heart and soul into your business, every aspect of it becomes a reflection of yourself. Unfair reviews can lead to sleepless nights, anxiety, and even questioning the viability of your business, significantly impacting mental health.

The Financial Repercussions: A Ripple Effect on Revenue

The impact of negative reviews extends beyond feelings; it has a tangible effect on the bottom line. Studies have shown that a single negative review can deter a significant proportion of potential customers. For a small business, where every customer counts, this can be particularly damaging. The ripple effect is real – a drop in customer numbers leads to reduced sales, which can spiral into difficulties in covering operational costs, investing in growth, or even maintaining the current level of service. In severe cases, it can threaten the very existence of the business.

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  • The Importance of a Positive Online Reputation

    In a world where the majority of consumers turn to online reviews to make purchasing decisions, maintaining a positive online reputation is not just beneficial, it’s essential. Positive reviews can be a powerful driver of business, helping to attract new customers and build trust. Conversely, negative reviews, especially those that are false or unfair, can have the opposite effect, eroding trust and discouraging potential business.

    For small businesses, the stakes are even higher. Negative reviews aren’t just a nuisance – they are a direct threat to the business’s viability and future success.

Take the Right Legal Action Against False Reviews

Fake or unfair reviews can damage your brand's reputation and drag down your online visibility. Don't let online bullies win. Take steps to protect your business. Get expert legal advice on how to best protect your business and defend your reputation.

You have a limited time to take action about a negative review.

You also need to take the right action.


There are several legal avenues for removing fake or unfair business reviews. These include defamation, injurious falsehood, contractual interference, and misleading and deceptive conduct. Each of these avenues offers a different approach to tackling the issue, depending on the nature of the review and the specific circumstances of your business.


Defamation involves a statement that harms someone’s reputation. For small businesses in Australia, especially sole traders or small partnerships, defamation law can be a viable option if a review is not only false but also damaging to reputation. However, larger companies with more than ten employees are restricted from making defamation claims under Australian law. In these cases a review needs to identify an individual to be actionable.

Injurious Falsehood

Injurious falsehood is similar to defamation but requires proof of actual damage caused by the false statement. This legal route is often more suitable for businesses as it focuses on the financial or economic harm done by the false review, rather than just reputational damage. There is no restriction on larger companies making injurious falsehood claims.

Contractual Interference

Sometimes, false reviews can be seen as an interference with contractual relations. This occurs when the reviewer’s actions intentionally disrupt the business relationships you have, causing you loss. Legal action in such cases requires proving that the reviewer’s conduct directly led to a breach or termination of business contracts.

Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Under the ACL, businesses are protected from conduct that is misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive. This can include false reviews that paint an untrue picture of your business. However, the conduct needs to have been undertaken “in trade and commerce” so this tends to apply when a competitor is attacking your business with fake reviews.

Each option has its complexities and requirements, but we can help you effectively address and remove false and unfair reviews.

Protect your business from unfair reviews

Having a firm understanding of what constitutes a false review and where legal action is often the most effective solution can help ensure your business reputation remains intact.