Yelp Can Sue ReviewVio for Damages After Promising to Suppress Bad Reviews, According to Court Ruling

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 08, 2024 06:08 AM EDT

Yelp Can Sue ReviewVio for Damages After Promising to Suppress Bad Reviews, According to Court Ruling
A Yelp splash page is displayed on a cell phone on November 14, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A US District Court judge ruled later Thursday (June 6) that the online review platform Yelp could pursue a lawsuit against the reputation management company ReviewVio, which runs the Dandy bad review removal system, for its alleged fraudulent advertising of its ability to remove "bad" reviews from the Yelp website. 

Reuters reported that San Francisco District Court judge William Alsup gave the company approval to sue ReviewVio for trademark infringement and unfair competition if it wishes to do so. 

The 27-page decision ruled that Yelp sufficiently alleged that ReviewVio's conduct could cause confusion about the companies' relationship, adding that the company could seek damages for ReviewVio's alleged misrepresentations to businesses. 

On the other hand, ReviewVio said in its dismissal attempt that there was no evidence that it made such allegations.

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Yelp Says ReviewVio Sabotaged its Business

Yelp alleged that ReviewVio's ads included its own logo, and harmed its reputation by suggesting that businesses could pay for what it claimed was artificially inflated star ratings when Yelp actually prohibits such a practice. 

The company also stressed that Dandy's developers were allegedly undercutting honest businesses that would not pay to remove negative reviews, undermining the usefulness of its website to its consumers, and ultimately, sabotaging its ad revenue from businesses that paid for "review gating," a practice Yelp has prohibited. 

For its part, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been encouraging companies to receive both positive and negative reviews on face value.

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