That’s what Consumerist reader Dale says happened to her mother-in-law over the weekend. See, back in August, Dale’s brother-in-law logged on to Yelp to post a 1-star write-up of his unhappy experience with a Boston shoe store.
So when Dale’s mom-in-law popped by the store the other day, things did not go well.
“The owner stopped her at the door, and told her because of her son’s review, she was no longer welcome in the store,” writes Dale. “He told her she was responsible for her 40-something year-old son, and therefore because of his review, she couldn’t shop there anymore.”
We called the store to get its side of the story, but the two people we spoke to couldn’t say whether or not Dale’s claims were true as they were not working during the weekend. We’ve also sent an e-mail asking for comment. If we hear back from the store, we’ll post an update.
UPDATE: Though we haven’t heard directly from the store, it did reply to Dale’s post on the store’s Facebook page:
There are two sides to every story and it is unfortunate that you have all chosen to only listen to one side.
This whole incident started with false accusations and libel that is documented online by a member of your family.
We would prefer to be professional and save your family embarrassment in detailing the actual situation that occurred.
If your friends and family choose to support your actions without confirmation of facts, it will only further confirm that we made the right decision. You are who you associate with, after all.
We are extremely sorry that your family has decided to be spiteful and untruthful about the situation.
We are prepared for more of your spiteful actions but we do stand behind our decisions and principles.
We wish you all the best and hope that you will one day understand that we did not do anything out of spite or arrogance. We felt deeply disrespected by your family members from their actions, spoken and written words.
If you support and believe in what your family wrote about us and out business practices, you would not want to shop at our business anyway and we only want to make our customers happy.
Have a happy holiday season and we do sincerely mean that.
Regardless, this story is just the latest in the tug-of-war between business owners and crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp.
Those against Yelp and its kind claim that reviews are posted by angry and ill-informed customers who just want to vent (though you’ll notice that businesses only claim this about negative reviews), while supporters of crowd-sourced reviews say they strip away the pretense of magazine and newspaper reviews and highlight the realities of actual customers’ experiences.
The truth, as in most debates, likely lies somewhere in between those two extremes. The fact is that, compared to a long history of professionally published reviews and guidebooks, crowd-sourced reviews are still in their infancy. The public is still learning how to write and read them while businesses figure out the proper ways in which to respond to the criticism.