Thursday, July 5, 2012

Threatening scammers want restaurants to pay out - or face negative reviews

Scammers are threatening some restaurants to offer payouts, pay offs, or discounts, or they'll post a negative ratings on online review sites like Yelp! or Angie's List.  

While some are willing to pay to keep bad reviews from being posted, Sonny Mayugba (photo below), owner of the Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar in Sacramento isn't one of them.  He talks about how a customer tried to scare him after claiming he and his family got food poisoning.

Food poising is very hard to prove and even harder to defend yourself against if you are a restaurateur. So in the spirit of good customer service Mr Mayugba offered the customer a $60 gift card. The customer however wanted more. 
He told Mayugba that he wanted at least $100 or he would leave a bad review on a local review site Yelp!
"He said, 'I'm going to do a scathing review of you on Yelp!, I'm going to make sure my girlfriend does a scathing review on Yelp!, and then I'm going to report you to the health department. However, if you buy me a $100.00 gift card to Ella, which is a nice restaurant here in town, you'll save me from doing all those things.' To me, that was extortion."

So, Mayugba didn't pay up, and as far ad that customer's negative post -- while nasty, it didn't mention anything about food poisoning.
Legal experts say it's smart not to pay, or file a lawsuit. They say if a business is seen as litigious, that can cause just as much damage as a negative review.
Review sites work hard to eliminate sham and fake posts, both positive and negative. 

The bottom line is, you just can't believe every review you read.
Perhaps the best bet is go find out for yourself, and spread the word.

We saw the menu, looks good, next time we're in Sacramento, we'll give it a go.