Ever get so angry with the service you got at a restaurant, salon or local business that you felt like writing a really nasty review online?
Before you do that, you may want to hear what one small business owner has to say about the impact of a negative review.
Nick McVey is what many people call a "critter gitter."Technically, he runs a professional animal removal service.
But like a growing number of small business owners, he worries about negative online reviews damaging his company. His Yelp rating has fallen from 5 stars to 4.5 stars because, he claims, of some bad reviews he really didn't deserve.
"Unfortunately there are instances where a customer will use the ability to write a review to gain something or to extort something from the business," he said.
As an example, McVey says one homeowner posted a negative review about him simply because the quote for removing a family of bats from her attic was too high.
"I did the inspection, wrote her a report from the inspection, went over it personally with her, and said, 'It's going to be $800 to get the bats out,'" McVey said.
He also charged her for the inspection, since it took one of his crews two hours of their day to crawl through her attic and take photos.
But McVey says she was so upset with the quote, and the fact the inspection cost money, that she posted a negative review online.
Customers search for bad reviews
More and more people these days will choose a company based on what they see on Yelp,Google Reviews or the Better Business Bureau website. They also check complaints at forums like NextDoor, Pissed Consumer and Consumer Affairs.
But McVey says one bad review can pull your star ratings down and cost you thousands of dollars in lost business.
His business gets an A Plus from the Better Business Bureau. But he says some customers have threatened a bad review if they couldn't get a discount.
Customers demand better deal
He says it's not just his business that has been hurt.
"Somebody's going to read that, somebody's going to react to it," McVey said. "Because if it is a small coffee shop, maybe it's a new coffee shop, a couple of negative reviews can really impact that business."
So McVey says think twice about slamming a business online just because you can't get exactly what you want or you felt their quote was too high or they charged you a service call to come out and look at your problem. He says consumers should remember sending an employee and truck out to your home costs money.
McVey said consumers should absolutely post a review if a contractor takes money and walks off the job. If the contractor botches the job or doesn't fulfill what was promised, then post that online.
But if its just a small dispute over a price or discount, McVey just asks you to sleep on it first so you don't harm a small local business, and you don't waste your money.
"Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com