Is It Illegal To Delete Bad Reviews

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By GMB Ranger

If you’re a business owner, you’re bound to have a few unsatisfied customers who will leave their complaints and negative reviews on Google, leaving you in a conundrum on how to deal with those. In this situation, you may wonder whether it’s possible and legal to delete these bad reviews.

The truth is, there are no legal obstructions to remove a review but Google will not allow you to simply delete the review by yourself either. Keep reading to know the potential ways and possibilities of dealing with these reviews.

Is removing bad reviews legal and ethical?

Removal of bad reviews is only possible through Google and hence, no legal repercussions are faced in this process. Either Google will approve the removal request or the review will remain but legally, there is nothing to worry about here. 

However, when it comes to the ethical aspect of it, businesses should not try to remove a bad review just to hide their shortcomings. Bad reviews should be dealt with professionally and constructively and one should attempt to remove a review only when it is indecent, fake, defamatory or violates Google’s policies. 

Is it possible for business owners to delete bad reviews directly?

The answer is no. A business owner cannot simply go to his profile and delete the reviews that he does not like or agree with. Google has certain regulations in place to remove a review. For example, Google will only take steps to remove those reviews that Google finds to be deceptive or inappropriate.

If a business owner receives a review that involves misinformation, misrepresentation, inappropriate language, harassment, offensive speech, profanity, terrorist content, hate speech, or any other condition that violates the policies of Google, then they can contact Google for the removal of that review following Google’s instructions. 

Hence, a business owner may request Google to remove unfair and false reviews but cannot directly delete them.

Which bad reviews can be removed?

A business owner must keep in mind that Google will not accept any removal request. Google does not get involved when businesses and customers do not agree about opinions and one cannot simply report a review just because it complains or states a negative comment about a business. 

However, when a review does not comply with Google’s policies and promotes inappropriate or deceptive behavior, a business owner can report the review and have Google check it. Furthermore, if a review seems to be fake and falsely defamatory then that can also be reported.

How to delete bad reviews?

As you have already read above, you know you cannot delete reviews by yourself. However, by following some steps, you can flag the reviews for Google to check those out.

  • To report a review, sign into your Google business account, open Google Maps, search for your business name, and locate the review you want to remove. 
  • On the top right corner of the review, click the three-dot menu and select the report review option. 
  • Follow the prompt “ What is wrong with this review?” and report the review to Google.
  • After that, you may have to wait a few days while Google assesses whether the review in question should be removed or not.

Alternative ways to deal with bad reviews

By now, you have probably realized that you cannot remove all kinds of reviews and you will have to go through a certain procedure to have a bad review removed. And so, in the cases where Google does not remove your reported reviews, there are several things you can do. 

  • Consider these bad reviews as feedback to improve your services and products. 
  • Try to genuinely look into the legitimate concerns and reply to the reviews humbly and sincerely. 
  • In the long run, strategically handling bad reviews will be better for your business than trying to remove them unethically.


Reviews can play a significant role in building a reputation for your business, especially online. Good reviews can boost the reliability and sales of your company but at the same time, negative reviews can repel potential customers. 

As you’ve known from above, you cannot simply delete bad reviews. But when a customer expresses their dissatisfaction in a review, you can address their concerns and deal with them constructively to make the best of the bad reviews your business gets. This will show your potential customers that you’re dedicated and that you care.

However, if you come across a review that is irrelevant, hateful, or false, you can always legally report it to Google and request to have it removed.

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