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Yelp’s Class Action Lawsuit

Popular review site Yelp was hit with a class action lawsuit today for unfair business practices in an alleged extortion scheme. Kevin Pereira talks to Greg Weston, founder of the Weston Firm suing Yelp, to learn more about their case. (10452)

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Adryenn Ashley

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31 comments

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  1. Gema Gamez

    I own a business in New York and have the exact same problem with yelp. My positive reviews are filtered and my negative reviews stay up with no proof to any truth. I would really like to join this class action suit. Please contact me to let me know how I can join. We have to stop yelp from further damage. Gema 347-268-2166

  2. Lance

    There are five (5) insanely unfair reviews on our Yelp Reviews page. I’ve complained a couple times online but have been ignored. What is particularly disturbing is how someone at Yelp is taking many of our positive reviews (5 at current count) and pushing them down into the “Not Recommended” box at the bottom of the screen. Meanwhile, 4 of the 5 negative reviews cited above with their multiple posting violations continue to persist. This is patently unfair, especially when you consider that we have a 5-star Google rating, almost 4-stars on TripAdvisor.com and an 8/10 rating on RVParkReviews.com.

  3. Julie

    A customer came in and received service, telling my employee it was what she wanted and then engaged in small talk after. When she got home, she called to complain and was VERY rude to me on the phone and basically wanted more free service. I bought her a gift card to our competitor because she was so unhappy with us and we didn't want bullies like her at our business, and this pissed her off! She wrote a review on Yelp, ENDLESS things she was unhappy about. I have documented proof that what she says is false and she is just out to complain for ass kissing, and vowed to ruin us. She later edited and removed the threat, but I printed it out.
    I contacted Yelp and they are keeping the review even though it is full of false claims against us.
    My employee and I gave ourselves reviews to explain what really happened and they were removed by Yelp. I also printed it out for proof. If I want to simply reply to this review, I have to join or get an account on Yelp. NO WAY!
    I have now asked them twice to remove my listing from their site. Will they? We will see.
    Wow!
    I would love to join the class action lawsuit. E-mail me at healingtouchsf@hotmail.com

  4. Jeanne Muliaina

    Wonderful to see yelp is on the way down. They feel 10-feet tall and bullet-proof but the wave is swelling and headed their way. I have experienced the same treatment described here by yelp and look so forward to their demise. Unfortunately they will spring up under new names and in different flavors but that will take time and money and time is not on the side of the crooked internet review company.

  5. jesse

    yelp is a money hungry site, they want me to pay money so i can remove bad reviews. scrow them. i want in this class action suit. please tell me how

  6. Sue

    I don't know if you have already been to court but I have had the same experience. I own "Extraordinary Pet Services" in Citrus Heights, CA. I contacted Yelp in regards to advertising with them and saved the voicemail from the Yelp rep. When I found out the price of advertising, I told him I couldn't afford it. From that time forward, all of my positive reviews are filtered on my business account and when I try to write a review for someone else, it's filtered. I don't understand how Yelp is able to dominate the internet and destroy businesses without accountability. You must be able to reach them. I can be contacted at 916-849-9050. Would love to be a part of the class action lawsuit.

  7. Tracy

    I own a business that had the same experience with yelp 1 negative has stayed on top of page forever. We have flood ed with good reviews. Most either don't get posted or come off after a few weeks. The negative has stayed on forever. Yelp calls regularly asking us to adv. They are the devil.

  8. Bill

    Please post a Law Firms info who is or has filed a class action law suit against Yelp.
    I have the same problem. I have a dental office and have many positive reviews that are hidden or filtered out and old negative reviews still pop up. I have positive reviews on othe sites across the web. They are obviously manipulating things. I have been solicited too and also rejected them nicely because of the cost. Tell us alsace to review them!! They would be out of business fast.

  9. ILBER

    I own a Dry Cleaners in the busy downtown L.A area, I am sooooooo sickkkk of yelp and their extortion tactics, we have been in business for over 25 years with no problems until yelp showed up on the internet. We use to have 4/5 stars on yelp. Once yelp saw we had so many positive reviews they contacted us and asked us to advertise with them for 1,000 bucks, we could not afford it so we declined as we are a family operated business. 3 days later after we refused to advertise, yelp took off over 27 of our positive reviews leaving us with only fake negative reviews from people who have never been our customers. Yessss, over 27 positive 5 star removed filtered and not counted, all because we would not advertise with them. 2 weeks later after having only 2 stars on yelp for our business, yelp contacted us again and said "do you know you only have 2 stars on yelp" , SERIOUSLY? Their salesperson advised us that if we advertise with them, they will in turn remove the negative fake reviews and re_add all of the positive ones that they removed and filtered. CAN SOMEONE SAY EXTORTION!!!!. Check our site for yourselves, we are Executive Image Cleaners in downtown Los Angeles. Once you are on yelp, type in our business name and there you can see how many positive reviews yelp has removed, filtered or not reccomended and has left us with all negative fake reviews written by either competitors or people who are either affiliated by yelp or just have a grudge against us. Yelp hurts small family run businesses just like ours by such extorting tactics.
    We need honest good peoples help on this issue. Please help us out anyway you can. You can also contact us to let us know what we can do about this problem.

    Thank you all. Much love and respect to those good honest people out there.

    Executive Image Cleaners.

    1. Madaline

      The same thing happened for our company. They removed all positive postings after we refused to advertise with them, leaving us with 1 bad comment and 2 positives. Our rating went from a 5 star rating to a 3 1/2 and we don't even show up under any searches if people search for our line of work in our area.

    2. phung ho

      My is exactly the same yours._

    3. mark cave

      Hi ILBER;
      Sorry that I saw this so late. If you're still having trouble with Yelp, my company can fix it.
      It looks like you're back up to 3 1/2 stars, so perhaps all is well now – hoping so.
      If not, please feel free to call me anytime. Our lines are answered from 9am-9pm, PST (we're in LA).
      Best wishes;
      Mark

  10. Sabina

    Yelp is protected by the law as a platform and they are not responsible for third party comments, reviews. However, the lawsuit should attack the review filter because that was a written program by yelp and is obviously flawed. Every business gets negative reviews, it's a part of doing business. It is unfair to highlight negative reviews and supress positive reviews from real customers. It is happening to us too. Sabina from Floor Expo in Fairfield, NJ. I want in on class action suit also!

  11. Heather

    My petsitting business used to show up when searching for that category and the city. I got a call from Yelp regarding buying advertising, and politely declined. Now my business doesn't show up when you search for petsitters in my area at all. You have to look up my business directly to see it. Luckily I spent my money joining a local business networking group to get leads, and don't need Yelp for this. Sounds like Yelp knows they are getting heat for filtering out positive reviews, so perhaps now they're moving to this technique to show their displeasure at those of us who aren't buying into it.

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      This is one of my biggest pet peaves! My maps integrates with Yelp (nice business play on their part) so when I am looking for an address I can say, nearby restaurants. But it doesn't give me all the nearby restaurants. It filters them. Just like my favorite breakfast dive, I'll be sitting IN the restaurant and want the check in and I have to search for the name!!! I'm right there!!! It's IN the database! I think they monkey with the software and take out the geolocation tags so they don't show up!

      1. Iknow

        They put in a 'noindex' code. http://www.robotstxt.org/meta.html This hides the listing from any search.

        Go to that particular restaurant listing (once you find it in Yelp).

        Right click and select "view page source".

        You will see a box come up and look for the string of text "noindex". This is NOT random and must be inserted by a human. Some people feel their business is blacklisted in this way by refusing to pay Yelp. Yelp purposely makes their business hard to find.

        1. yelp-sucks.com

          Mine is noindex, purposely blacklisted. Since they CAN do this, I think businesses should have the option to do it.

  12. Debbie S.

    It's not just restaurants. I received exceptional service from a store selling musical instruments, and said I would post a nice review on Yelp. The owner told me not to bother — every single positive review would be filtered because he wouldn't buy advertising,unlike the store across town. And sure enough, my review disappeared in a couple of days, as did every other positive review he got in the six or eight months after that. I filed a BBB complaint, and of course Yelp said that their review filter works, is fair, blah blah blah. That's total BS. I then called a bunch of law firms in San Francisco that handle class action or consumer affairs, and they all thought that the case couldn't proceed because of the internet review-shielding case that protects sites from actions for posting bad reviews. But this has nothing to do with reviews — it has everything to do with THEIR actions in the filtering to punish businesses who don't buy advertising, and there's only one word for that: extortion. If anyone from the firm handling the case is reading these comments, please post how we can get in touch with you to provide you with more evidence.

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      I'd love any bit of evidence you can provide. You can always email me with the proof and I can forward it on. I'm the central repository.

      1. Debbie S.

        I'd love to, but can't find your email address. Went to your website and you don't have a "contact us" page.

  13. Robin Gordon

    Yelp has refused to take down an unauthorized account that was posted by an employee no longer working for me..I can not get in to manage it. Yelp contacted me to advertise with them & when I refused all my positive reviews were removed. I have a 1 star rating with one negative review that I cannot flag as being untrue. I have recent emails from yelp telling me there is nothing they can do. I have been in business 21 years & enjoy a great reputation, but when you google all you see is 1 star 1 bad review…HELP!!!

  14. Ray

    This is amazing. I thought I was the only one suffering through this. It's funny that there is no way on YELP to review YELP itself. I have been trying to find someone at YELP to talk to with no luck. I have received some really terrible and personal attacks. I have responded to the reviewers privately ,as YELP suggests, but they never respond back. I have also put up a public explanation but since the owner's response always seems suspect and is below the review what good does it really do. I feel really helpless. What I have found out is that placing your business on the WEB is done at your own peril since companies like YELP harvest your information and feed off of the fear, uncertainty and doubt that they place in business owners minds

    1. Lonnie

      I am having the same problem with Yelp so I have posted news about them on my website. I am making it my mission to expose their shady tactics. I have this article in my latest news section at http://www.2ucomputer.com
      Yelp Wanted
      FTC Complaints About Yelp Allege Extortion, Libel, More
      Wednesday, January 23, 2013, by Paula Forbes
      A Freedom of Information act request filed with the FTC has resulted in the release of nearly 700 complaints against Yelp over the past four years. The FTC blocked any identifying information from coming through, so it's unclear who filed these complaints. What is clear? Plenty of restaurant owners are really, really, really mad at Yelp. Restaurants filed complaints accusing the company of filtering out positive reviews (thus skewing their ratings), of harassing them to buy advertising, of refusing to pull libelous reviews, and a whole lot more.
      "They prey on restaurants with bad bogus reviews." >>>
      Among the most common complaints were accusations that Yelp filters out positive reviews and allows negative ones through, particularly if the restaurant in question has refused to purchase advertising. Some even say sales reps promised negative reviews would disappear if the restaurant owner purchased advertising.

  15. brandon jacobian

    Class action Yelp…sign me up too! F them!

  16. Gregg Miron

    We are having problem with "Yelp" one client thought she deserved extra special service and conditions and reported us to yelp. "Yelp" posted her comment and used our registered name with out consent. The client with the problem had stated she knew the rules and regulations but says she should have been treated different even know she had signed the rental agreement which states if she is late returning our equipment we could charge her an extra day or loose her deposit. We charged her the lessor of the two since no one was waiting for the trailer to return. She say she should have not been charged at all. She also said she called our reservation department to complain and said that we told her that "we are not in the business of compassion" . We are up set and "yelp" keeps leaving her review up front and other good reviews behind. This is unfair and small business are in trouble by companies like this. We would like some help.

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      One thing that seems to be working to filter out those kinds of reviews is to calmly state the fact that the client signed the agreement, was aware of the rules, was late anyway and then tried to extort your company into not charging her by posting on Yelp. And Yelp is supporting her claim that your business is less than 5 stars because you made a contract and performed your end of it.

      The keyword extort might be a trigger for the filter to put the whole review in the filter… who knows. Or you could seriously piss her off… I wish we could start comment threads under comments and discuss the merits or demerits of reviews! Some are ludicrous!

  17. George Biron

    I have had a similar experience, in that, many, many five star reviews were "removed", and I was told that the "algorhythm identified these reviews as spam" and there was no way to get them back. However,

    "if you were to advertise with us, that might help the reviews stay posted".

    This is clearly extortion, and totally biased behavior. Yelp is indeed a fraudulent company.

    1. Diana

      Yeah they said that to me and I decided to try, needing some traffic….they don't stay posted, I just got screwed into advertising a two star rating for 6 months. Now as others I have read here you can barely find me and even if you go directly to my business you see yelp reviews above it!!!!!

      I am closing my business and restarting, hoping no one reviews me there. Although it seems if you never answer their calls they don't do anything, till you tell them no, it was then that the filtering started for me.

  18. Jason Vass

    I didn't ask to be put on yelp and they refuse to take it down. There is no phone number(for their convienience), and no one returns emails. They took down 7 five-star comments and left the bad. I refuse to pay them a dime. I would like in on any class action lawsuit. I'm in NC 704-490-5524-Jason

  19. Charles sarosy md

    Interested any class action suits against yelp I have great evidence of slanderous statements that they refuse to review yet 15 5 stat reviews are filtered because I won't adversing with them

  20. Renee

    How do I get in on the class action suit ?

    Yelp opened an account that I did want or request. I have asked them to remove several times and they refuse and hide behind their umbrella that my info is public and they are protected by the law. What about the public being protected from them!!! I have told them this is extortion and I don't the account.

    Renee

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