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Dealing With Negative Reviews

I brought this topic up because I recently saw a negative review on me personally. There's also a good chance you'll receive a negative review sometime during your career.

The bad review might be a Google review, Facebook, a local social networking site, anywhere. Should you respond?

There are two schools of thought on this. The first is you just ignore the review and go about your business. Most people understand there will always be those you can never make happy no matter how hard you try.

The second school of thought, and the one I prefer, is to reply but always by taking the high road. Don't relive the events that occurred because no-one really cares. Defend yourself in a short, non-confrontational manner and offer to discuss what happened with them. Chances are, this won't satisfy them but at least the public knows you care about your reputation.

When I Was Unfairly Blamed

Many years ago I sold a home where an unusual event had occurred. The Texas Real Estate Commission has ruled an event like that does NOT have to be disclosed to a purchaser by either the seller or the listing agent. I was the listing agent, so my fiduciary duty is to my sellers and I didn't make that disclosure to the buyer or their agent. Furthermore, if I had and the buyer backed away from the home because of it, my seller's would have been furious. They could have come after me.

Years went by without a word from the buyer but suddenly I noticed a negative review on an online neighborhood site which simply said "I would never work with Tom Grisak". It was written by the purchaser of the home in question.

I'd never had a cross word with the buyer nor their agent before, during, or after the transaction, so it was immediately obvious to me what had happened. After the closing, the buyer had found out about the unusual occurrence in their home and blamed me for not telling them.

I believed the people who saw that short review would just assume I'm unethical so I felt I had to respond. In my response, I reminded the reviewer neither she nor her buyer agent had any problems before, during, or after the transaction. I told her I was sorry she feels the way she does and I would be happy to discuss the transaction with her.

If the buyer does call, I'll explain the dilemma I was dealing with at the time. Maybe she'll understand and maybe she won't but at least I'll have publicly made the effort to reach out and discuss what happened. That's really all I can do.

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