If you can prove that you did nothing to cause a negative review, then you can go to court and get that negative review removed if a judge orders it. A man named Richart Ruddie has been taking advantage of this fact, according to a news report originally published on Boing Boing.
For a fee of $6,000, Mr. Ruddie claims that he can have any negative reviews removed from any site. He simply takes the person who wrote the negative review to court and gets a judge to say that the information is defamatory to his client. In most cases, the judge sees it as a waste of valuable court time and gives Mr. Ruddie his judgement. Once Mr. Ruddie has the slip of paper, he then takes it to either the company hosting the site of the negative review or Google demanding that the information be removed.
In some cases as reported on onlinereputationreviews.com, Mr. Ruddie appears to be making up fictitious characters which usually makes the case easier for the judge to decide. If the judge decides not to agree with Mr. Ruddie, then he simply withdraws the case and files it in a neighboring county.
There have been at least 25 cases filed since Mr. Ruddie began the process in November 2015. Lawyers with the UCLA and Public Citizen say that many of the words used in the court filings are simply cut and pasted from one filing to the next. Many times the person who has paid money to Mr. Ruddie does not even know that the court case have been filed. Apparently, he may be very good at forging signatures.
Now, if it seems like $6,000 paid to have a negative review removed seems like a lot of money, some doctors and dentists say that having even one negative review costs them more than that fee in the long run. First, they may lose patients who read the negative review. Many say, however, that the most detrimental effect comes when its time to pay their malpractice insurance. It seems that insurance companies are reading the reviews and raising some practioners rates.