Diners threaten Gold Coast cafe with bad reviews if they don’t get refunds, as small businesses urged not to give into customer blackmail

Small business owners are urged to be proactive about generating the best online reputation they can, amid reports that a Gold Coast cafe was ‘blackmailed’ by patrons who threatened they would post bad reviews about the business on TripAdvisor and Zomato if they didn’t receive cash refunds for meals they had paid for.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports Goji Granola Bar and Cafe was recently hit with Facebook complaints from multiple customers who had already dined at the venue and paid without complaint.

After the business offered vouchers to two customers to give the cafe a second chance, they allegedly demanded a cash refund instead, saying they would write negative reviews about the business on sites including Zomato and TripAdvisor if the demand wasn’t met.

The venue owner, Monica Tjong, reportedly passed the correspondence on to the review platforms to have the customers blocked from posting.

Reviews site TripAdvisor tells SmartCompany the platform tracks any threatening behaviour by guests and has taken steps to give businesses more power to report any reviewers they feel are trying to take advantage by using the threat of bad reviews to gain freebies.

“We now have a way for owners to proactively report such threats before a corresponding review is submitted by using our Management Centre, where owners can register for free. Our fraud detection experts will then investigate and, where we find evidence of threatening behaviour, take action to stop their reviews from ever reaching the site,” a TripAdvisor spokesperson said this morning. Read more

Emma Koehn – Smart Company – 26 July 2017