Consumers are increasingly likely to refer to online reviews before making a final decision to buy a product or use a service, whether it's a hotel room, a book or a laptop. But how does it work for legal services, where the client's satisfaction with the outcome may be at odds with the 'quality' of work done?
The below article from the Law Society Gazette explores this issue, considering how the SRA might respond to negative reviews posted online - and indeed the thorny issue of exaggerated or false reviews.
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A further complication is the risk that some negative reviews may be fake, malicious or exaggerated. By the same token, it is conceivable that some firms may seek to enhance their reputations by posting or encouraging others to post fake positive reviews, even perhaps adopting the ‘praise’ by using it as promotional material on their websites or elsewhere. Therefore the effectiveness of steps taken by review websites to minimise this risk is also in issue. Some review sites do have safeguards in place to protect against obviously false reviews – for example by requiring an email address on submitting the review or by engaging with the individual directly before publishing the review – but these are not filters which will reliably intercept false, malicious or exaggerated negative reviews in every case.