Would you take $3000 or write a Bad Google Review?

37 Replies

Hi All,

I need some perspective because I am fuming and I want to make the right decision.  

The Backstory: We have had a basement waterproofing company who was awful. They did both my house and a rental we have that is currently occupied with tenants. They were supposed to take 2 days for each job but repeatedly just didn't call or show up.  Every day I was told they would be there the next day, every day I had to call them (repeatedly because they don't answer their phones), only to find some new reason they couldn't/wouldn't be out that day. For reasons not worth typing I  typically obtained this information past 1 pm at the earliest and frequently later. This went on for a week and a half. Meanwhile I'm asking my tenant to stay home because someone has to be there when they are there.  My tenant bend over backwards to be sure someone would be home the whole time. It was incredibly embarrassing to repeatedly tell her that they again needed to come the "next day" and see if she could be home. 

The Discount: After the initial no call no show I wrote a pretty terrible review about them on google. The manager called me nearly immediately and offered me $2500 of the jobs (combined) to take the review down.  That seemed fair enough, since at that time they had only missed on day that they were supposed to be there. 

Fast forward a week, they have still not completed the rental and are saying they can come out on Sunday to get it done. Job was supposed to be done the previous Friday (like a week before that Sunday, not 2 days).  I tell the manager I think it would be reasonable to discuss the amount off we are getting. He agrees and says once the job is done we can talk. 

Now it's the next Friday, I'm chasing the company down to get the final inspection on the rental done and request to talk to the manager to finalize the discount we're going to get.  

The NDA:  The manager is immediately incredibly defensive, says they went above and beyond sending guys out on a Sunday to finish the job and he doesn't think any additional discount is needed since it was just an "inconvenience" for me. I pointed out that it was not above and beyond to finish a job they promised to finish the week before and it's not just an inconvenience but it affects my business as now I have created bad will with my tenants and need to compensate them for their excessive time wasted on this. 
I told him I wanted half off the job.  This sent him over the edge, he started  yelling and said he would give me $500 more off and that was it then threatened  to take away all of the discount unless I sign an NDA.  He said that the amount was "a lot of money" and he is not giving me anything else.  

Between the 2 jobs my total bill is about $25K, so I really don't feel like a total of $3000 is a lot of money, but then again when I think of what else I could buy with 3 grand it really is. 

My Dilemma: So here's my dilemma, I'm pissed and I don't like being threatened so I want to just write the terrible google review telling everyone to stay away from this company and that they pay  people to keep the bad reviews off of google. BUT... $3000 is kind of a lot of money, it would buy the cabinets in a small flip I'm doing for example. 


So BP, what would you do??

Half off the job sounds pretty excessive to me. Most jobs aren't carrying that kind of profit margin for sure in this industry.

Why did someone have to be home? We've had these kinds of people in before and they can work unsupervised. Biggest risk is valuables of the tenants, but other than that I don't see what kind of assistance the tenant can offer.

I think at the point in which you allowed them to work after all the excuses of not showing up, you had signed off on the fact that it was OK to not make the allotted appointment times.

If it were me: I would take the $3k, I wouldn't sign a NDA, I would use the possibility of an honest Google Review showing up as leverage not to sign the NDA, and I would think a little harder about my own business operations and how I would handle things in the future. After all, you really don't have an ethical problem with being paid to take down a review since you've already done it once. You were willing to trade $2500 for them to come to do the job, despite the fact that you were bothered enough by the no call, no show to write a scathing review one day after they had not performed.

Also: you should probably count on the fact that they will never come out to honor any kind of warranty service whatsoever. Once you wrote the review, the business relationship was destroyed and I'm surprised they agreed to do the work at all. 

I'd have fired the company when the kept failing to show up. 

I'd take the money and remove the review. $3K  is a lot of money. Then I'd tell my tenant they should post a review about how they repeatedly stayed home and the company never showed up and should be avoided.

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Damn. That's a tough one. I've been in that situation before and it sucks.

Now, you might feel that your only choices are to either get mistreated while being $3000 lighter, or to take the money and potentially let other people get screwed because you didn't warn them.

But there might be a third option if you can convince the business owner that negative reviews can be turned into positive results.

Point out that all businesses, even the best ones, make mistakes and receive bad reviews.

But the best businesses work with their customers to fix the problem and have the review edited to reflect that. They don't hide the truth.

For instance, you could leave the original review up but then add to it, "While the owner was rude when he reached out to me, he did apologize, fixed the problem, and give me a partial refund. So, I'm now happy enough to change is score to 3 out of 5 stars."

Most business owners like him don't realize that they don't need perfect scores. In fact, as a digital marketing consultant, I've seen research that shows a couple of negative reviews makes all of the reviews more trustworthy because we all know that, "Pobody's Nerfect."

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

Half off the job sounds pretty excessive to me. Most jobs aren't carrying that kind of profit margin for sure in this industry.

Why did someone have to be home? We've had these kinds of people in before and they can work unsupervised. Biggest risk is valuables of the tenants, but other than that I don't see what kind of assistance the tenant can offer.

I think at the point in which you allowed them to work after all the excuses of not showing up, you had signed off on the fact that it was OK to not make the allotted appointment times.

If it were me: I would take the $3k, I wouldn't sign a NDA, I would use the possibility of an honest Google Review showing up as leverage not to sign the NDA, and I would think a little harder about my own business operations and how I would handle things in the future. After all, you really don't have an ethical problem with being paid to take down a review since you've already done it once. You were willing to trade $2500 for them to come to do the job, despite the fact that you were bothered enough by the no call, no show to write a scathing review one day after they had not performed.

Also: you should probably count on the fact that they will never come out to honor any kind of warranty service whatsoever. Once you wrote the review, the business relationship was destroyed and I'm surprised they agreed to do the work at all. 

 I agree.

Just fyi this isn't an ethical debate but they clearly think a lot of reviews and I'm just really mad and really want to write a review

And last thing,  they showed up on time and did their job day 1, not sure how i would have done anything different on my end. They had to complete the work,  both houses were all torn up.  

Originally posted by @Tiffany Roberts :

Hi All,

I need some perspective because I am fuming and I want to make the right decision.  

The Backstory: We have had a basement waterproofing company who was awful. They did both my house and a rental we have that is currently occupied with tenants. They were supposed to take 2 days for each job but repeatedly just didn't call or show up.  Every day I was told they would be there the next day, every day I had to call them (repeatedly because they don't answer their phones), only to find some new reason they couldn't/wouldn't be out that day. For reasons not worth typing I  typically obtained this information past 1 pm at the earliest and frequently later. This went on for a week and a half. Meanwhile I'm asking my tenant to stay home because someone has to be there when they are there.  My tenant bend over backwards to be sure someone would be home the whole time. It was incredibly embarrassing to repeatedly tell her that they again needed to come the "next day" and see if she could be home. 

The Discount: After the initial no call no show I wrote a pretty terrible review about them on google. The manager called me nearly immediately and offered me $2500 of the jobs (combined) to take the review down.  That seemed fair enough, since at that time they had only missed on day that they were supposed to be there. 

Fast forward a week, they have still not completed the rental and are saying they can come out on Sunday to get it done. Job was supposed to be done the previous Friday (like a week before that Sunday, not 2 days).  I tell the manager I think it would be reasonable to discuss the amount off we are getting. He agrees and says once the job is done we can talk. 

Now it's the next Friday, I'm chasing the company down to get the final inspection on the rental done and request to talk to the manager to finalize the discount we're going to get.  

The NDA:  The manager is immediately incredibly defensive, says they went above and beyond sending guys out on a Sunday to finish the job and he doesn't think any additional discount is needed since it was just an "inconvenience" for me. I pointed out that it was not above and beyond to finish a job they promised to finish the week before and it's not just an inconvenience but it affects my business as now I have created bad will with my tenants and need to compensate them for their excessive time wasted on this. 
I told him I wanted half off the job.  This sent him over the edge, he started  yelling and said he would give me $500 more off and that was it then threatened  to take away all of the discount unless I sign an NDA.  He said that the amount was "a lot of money" and he is not giving me anything else.  

Between the 2 jobs my total bill is about $25K, so I really don't feel like a total of $3000 is a lot of money, but then again when I think of what else I could buy with 3 grand it really is. 

My Dilemma: So here's my dilemma, I'm pissed and I don't like being threatened so I want to just write the terrible google review telling everyone to stay away from this company and that they pay  people to keep the bad reviews off of google. BUT... $3000 is kind of a lot of money, it would buy the cabinets in a small flip I'm doing for example. 


So BP, what would you do??

Personally I would take the money.  Writing the review, while cathartic, doesn't in my eyes provide the same benefit as the money would.

Understanding you are angry and frustrated beyond belief I get the 1/2 of comment, but that isn't reasonable at all.  From what I read, and maybe I missed something but this is a time, communication and attitude problem.  Time for you, them and the tenant.  Lack of communication and a poor attitude on their behalf (to say the least I am sure).  

The one thing you have not commented on (That I read, sorry if I missed it) is the job was done and you don't have any complaints about the job.  Also, might be to early to tell as you may not know for weeks/months/years.

I didn't read the messed up your house, made it worse, left a giant mess, were rude to the tenants (to you yes) etc....

I assume this work comes with a warranty?  

If there is a warranty this could still go from bad to worse.  Meaning, if there is an issue a year from now are they going to take your call?  You going to have to get a lawyer involved?  Or do you go back to google and write reviews about them not honoring the warranty?

I do agree there is a possibility when cooler heads prevail that you can try to get both a discount and keep the review up and you both agree on those terms.  He will chime in say what he did and you will chime back that the work was good (if it was) and you are now happy.

If you have a warranty they are going to service, I would for sure do what I had to do to protect my 25 (or 22K) investment.  

The job was completed, so there's no justification for half off just for one week of inconvenience. What's your time worth? You spent a total of six hours on the phone chasing them down and your time is worth $50 an hour, so that's $300. Your tenant had to stay home for five days and their time is probably worth $300 (or less).

I think $3,000 is a pretty generous offer.

The delays you refer to are pretty typical in the construction industry from my experience. Even more so now. Small businesses are overwhelmed with work and short staffed. I had a concrete edging project lined up since June with September start date. They got to our job in early October. The owner told me he is working 80 hours a week. He normally just manages the job site and handles customer calls. He is stuck shoveling cement, because they can't get people to show up for work. He told me he returns 15-20 calls on his lunch break. 

I don't know what their excuses were, but they could be experiencing valid difficulty in their business. This is happening with most small business owners right now. Your tone comes off harsh and not respectful of a blue collar profession. 

Giving half off on the job means they take a total loss (less than materials and labor). Ask yourself, is that truly equal to the financial hardship you sustained here? It seems your financial damages are limited to the time spent on phone calls. Maybe 2-3 hours worth of time. Your tenant seems to have had the most hardship, but you never mention how much money you are giving them. You just say "what else I could buy with the 3 grand". If tenant happiness is the concern, then there is one main use of the money, right? 

I would accept the $3000. I would thank them for the discount, tell them it is fair and show appreciation for their job well done. I would apologize for the bad review and remove it. I would show empathy for their situation and wish them well. I would then offer my tenant a rent discount for their trouble.

I have learned that burning bridges is never helpful. What if you need them to come back and fix something later? What if you need another job done and they are the only one available? Also keep in mind it is a small world and you never know where paths cross in the future. I would encourage you to cool down and really think about this. Decide how you want to run your business and how you want to treat people. 

Don't take this wrong, but if you were a contractor reading this thread, how excited would you be to do work for Tiffany Roberts?

Since I'm genuinely baffled by some of your responses i feel the need to defend myself a little. 

i used a large company in a large metro area and paid over other bids because they actually promise they won't do stuff like what happened.  

the job was done and it seems fine so far.  I never had an issue with the workers and am in no way down on blue collar workers. I am very upset with the management though.  

i think it's beyond unprofessional to not call a customer to let them know you won't be there. And this didn't happen just once but for 2 weeks.  I can't belive that many of you find this to be an ok practice. This is a company who has a robust customer service team for sales (they always pick up first ring but can't help) but for helping actual customers they have a ghost staff apparently. No outbound calls to advise when they can't make it and don't answer the phone most of the time. 

i was hoodwinked because i believed their sales pitch of no issues and how professional they are.  

i typically hire people small business owners and have great respect for people in these professions. I have not ever been so mislead with outright lies as i was here.  

As for my tenants they get next month's rent free,m. To discount their time as worth maybe $300 seems a bit out of touch,  they work jobs that don't pay a lot and aren't flexible and they were great about this whole mess.

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So… As of today I have not given  anyone a negative review. Have people aggravated me and deserved a bad review? (Yes) We could shop at a place 50 times and have one bad experience and then go give them a terrible tongue lashing online. I’m not saying this is you, but there have been people that seem to have a better day after giving someone else a bad review. I have looked at some peoples reviews that gave me a bad review for no reason and they gave other people bad reviews without any real justification as well. Sometimes a bad review says more about the person making the review than it does about the company they are leaving a negative review of.

You sound more like you just want to write a bad review......

I agree that companies shouldn't treat customers like this, but it's over. Is this about principle or money to you?

You are young and inexperienced at dealing with this kind of crap, but you probably shouldn't have written a bad review when they missed just one day (if I read that right), that may have been a valid missed day for them and now they're dealing with a bad client....

You do have a little blame here. I'd take their money but not sign the NDA......

Well,  Thank you all for your perspective. I really apprecite you all taking the time to weigh in on this.  

One more thing.  The first mistake you made, was hiring a big company fo a little (OK, 2 little) job(s).  You always hire contractors where the size of the company matches the size of the job.  Here are the reasons why:

1 - A large company will treat a small job as a fill in, and will schedule it accordingly
2 - A small company won't be able to handle a large job.

OK, two more things, and please don't feel the need to get defensive...this is a very common hurdle for almost every REI. You will be a much better, and much more successful REI, when you eliminate emotion from your REI.

I would have fired them after the second time they didn't show up and moved on to another company. Once you allowed them to come and do the work after the no shows and excuses, it was almost as if you were okay with their behavior.  There were literally no consequences for their actions.   I absolutely would not sign an NDA.  Take you 3K and never use them again.  As for the review, I would still write one.  

@Tiffany Roberts Two thoughts.  First,if I were to share this dilemma with my wife, she would, matter of factly, say "I did not know my husband could be bought."  That resonates deeply with me.  We'd walk away from the $3,000 in a heartbeat.  Not because we can afford to walk away from that time of money and not because we are ticked off.  We would do so because we believe that our word is the most important thing and that when we say something we do it and believe it in.  Writing an accurate review, positive, negative or neutral, is for us, the only option.

Second thought.  While we question how no one else runs their real estate investing, we have to admit that for those who wrote here that you should take the money, this is a clue as to how they think and how it differs greatly from how we think.  It helps us contextualize forum advice across a myriad of issues, which is to say that all of it amounts to the two cents of others.  For us, the framework one uses to approach any investing/business issue matters to us and we start from the above framework.  You may have already made your decision, but if not we hope this framing helps you make it.

@Ron Brady When some of said take the money, it was probably more based on the feeling that they need some sort of punishment....note that most also said leave the bad review. Even though the OP has some blame in this, the company acted poorly to say the least and some form of compensation may be due her. As a Contractor, I have had to give or get a little $$ from time to time to make things 'feel right' Just my .02

PS - I really admire what you said in your first paragraph... :-)

@Tiffany Roberts

Take the money.

Then write an honest review, including the part about being paid.

Things happen. Sometimes the contractor and the people they work for don't match well too!

I am a contractor and investor.

I have not had serious issues as a contractor, but when that time happens, I want a review that shares what I did to help resolve the issue or issues. I would hire a contractor that had issues if I could tell that the contractor did what he could to solve the issues.

Sometimes you are not going to please someone, and you need to cut your losses and move on.

Good luck.