St. Paul, Problems with Being Human and Small Businesses Dealing with AngiesList.com

Like many people with a standard Midwest religious upbringing I struggle to do the right thing and, sometimes, to know just what that is under the circumstances. But, as St. Paul discussed in Romans 7 “being good is not that easy, even when we are so inclined” (and he was a Saint.) Hardly a week goes by I do not regret some act or omission – usually one made in passing while I was working on something else. I understand the likelihood of such mistakes and work to understand and accept such human failings in others.

This leads me to the problems that I see my business owner clients having with public review sites like AngiesList.com. The Terms of Use for AngiesList state in Article 14 that the customer is not to post unfair or unreasonable reviews; in particular Article 14(c).

It comes back to St. Paul. Each of us has done wrong; each of us has a bad day at work and has caused a client inconvenience or harm. Most of us, like St. Paul, seriously hate that. But, we do not expect or deserve to have our lives ruined by those who would take advantage of the situation. Third party review sites need to be regulated – or to self regulate – to afford due process. Otherwise, they will increasingly become a tool of extortion by an unreasonable, and often lawfully incorrect, consumer.

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