Localsearch is a place for locals and businesses to connect. Part of this connection experience is our review platform. Reviews are essential for businesses, not just to showcase their relationship with customers online, but also to help improve their search engine ranking.
However, we know in the heat of the moment, things can be said, and reviews can be left that aren’t necessarily fair to the business. To maintain an even playing field (and in accordance with The Competition and Consumer Act 2010), there’s a few things to remember, both as the person leaving a review and a business receiving reviews. The following policies are upheld by our in-house review management team, who assess each submission prior to processing.
Our review policy for reviewers
We believe in fair play, and we get that not all experiences are positive. Reviewers are encouraged to leave honest feedback for businesses to help them improve their service and give them a chance to rectify any misunderstandings or issues. However, we do ask you to do so in accordance with our guidelines. If your review includes any of the following, please understand your review will be declined:
- Swearing, offensive, threatening, derogatory, defamatory or racially or sexually explicit language.
- Vague submissions. Reviews must outline a personal experience with the business.
- Personal disputes, outside of a business interaction or transaction.
- Submission of private details (of the reviewer of the business), including personal phone numbers, full names, emails or addresses.
- Reference to matters currently before the court, that may evoke legal action or proceedings, or ACCC complaints or submissions.
- The submission is not a review, such as an enquiry.
- Reviews written by the owner, employees, family or friends.
- False or misleading reviews.
- Submissions by competitors.
- Reviews copied from competitors’ websites, listings or social media platforms.
- Duplicated content from a previous review.
- Targeting a specific employee in an unnecessary manner.
- Reference to individuals under the age of 18.
- The review is for a medical profession or establishment and refers to language associated with experience, advice or a direct statement regarding the outcome.
All declined reviews (other than a fake email submission) will receive an email response outlining the reasons for not being published. Unless the review has been declined for legal reasons, you’re welcome to resubmit your experience in accordance with our guidelines.
Guidelines for Review Photos
Reviewers can choose to add photos to their review submissions. Any photos that do not meet the below or above guidelines will result in the entire review not being published.
All photos must be:
- Related to an experience with the business being reviewed, meeting all above guidelines.
- Not inappropriate in nature.
- Not featuring individuals under the age of 18.
- Not defamatory in nature, including targeting of a specific employee.
- Free of personal information, including physical addresses or details of the reviewer, business employees or relevant.
- Unrelated to legal matters, including subjects which could instigate legal proceedings.
Natural Disasters, Business Mandates & Industry Regulation
From time to time, businesses may be impacted by elements out of their control, such as natural disasters, health mandates or industry regulations. Where these events are impacting a wider community or audience, including a body of businesses, reviews may be limited if the review in question contains reference to matters out of the control of the business. As a result, we at Localsearch reserve the right to remove any review on this basis, at our discretion.
We ask reviewers to show consideration to this and consider whether the matter can be resolved offline.
Localsearch Review Guidelines for Businesses
Our Localsearch Verified Businesses are able to reply directly to reviews as the business owner, which notifies the reviewer and displays as an attached response to the original submission. We recommend businesses respond to both positive and negative reviews. If you have received a negative review, we recommend the following steps:
- Speak to the reviewer privately to resolve the issue. If they’re happy with the result, you can then ask for them to remove the review. They must contact us through the email they submitted the review to request for the review to be removed.
- Reply to the review politely, not only to resolve the matter with the reviewer, but also so visitors to your profile page can see your excellent customer service, in good and bad times. Trust us, an excellent response can be as powerful as a 5-star review.
- Request for your review-submission feature to be removed; although we do not recommend this as having reviews (good and bad) on your profile page has been found to help improve your search engine rankings. Please note, only Localsearch Verified Businesses can have their review feature removed.
You should also know, as a business owner, review tampering of any sort can result in legal action from the ACCC, which may result in prosecution. Review tampering can include, but is not limited to, having reviews removed for any purpose outside of the reasons outlined in our policies, paying for review submissions, altering review text to change the context, or submitting false reviews. We recommend all businesses become familiar with the ACCC guide for business and review platforms.
Requesting for a review to be removed
If you believe you have received a defamatory review, and you have made reasonable attempt to contact and resolve the issue with the reviewer, we want to know. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your name (business owner).
- Business name.
- Business address or service area.
- The review in question.
- Your reason for requesting the review to be removed.
- Physical evidence to support your claim.
Our review management team will get back to you in 1 to 2 business days. Remember, our review management team are bound by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and their decision is in your business’s best interest—so be nice.