FOREST HILLS (KDKA) — The internet is full of reviews for all things of products and services, good ones, bad ones and mixed ones. But, recently, a local woman became mixed up in an online review dispute that took a nasty turn.
“They tried to bully me into taking my review down. I was terrified,” Valerie Fitzgerald says.
Fitzgerald, of Forest Hills, says she recently called a chimney sweep company to have a cap put on her chimney. She says they promised to be at her home for the work, but when they showed up they took one look at her chimney and left.
Fitzgerald says she never saw them.
A few days later, the chimney sweep company asked Fitzgerald for an online review.
“I posted a review. I mention they weren’t there when I asked them to be. I also mentioned they left an estimate for nearly $4,000 worth of chimney work in my mailbox,” says Fitzgerald.
Fitzergald says she then received a “cease and desist” order from the chimney sweep company. The business owner threatened to sue her if she didn’t take down her review.
That’s when she called Get Marty.
KDKA reached out to the business owner. In a statement, he told Marty Griffin, “We do feel we were overzealous in our response and acted with a knee jerk reaction to the review. We have offered an apology to Mrs. Fitzgerald. We will be issuing her a full refund.”
It doesn’t always work out that way.
“The internet is a trash dump. There has to be some kind of integrity to what folks do on the internet,” says Jason Simms.
He owns a highly-regarded cleaning service called Maid on the Spot. He says a woman posted a 8-year-old review on Yelp, describing his workers as “dishonest people.”
“It’s ridiculous. It can ruin a small business,” says Simms.
The woman who posted the review on Yelp wants nothing to do with KDKA, so Get Marty reached out to Yelp.
In a statement, Yelp says, “It’s a violation of our Terms and Services for a business to offer a reviewer a refund in exchange for removing their review. On the flip side, reviewers should not threaten businesses with a negative review as a way to extract payment.
Yelp modified the 8-year-old review, but would not take it down.
Meanwhile, with Get Marty’s involvement, both sides are now negotiating a settlement.
If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.