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

37 Replies

Originally posted by @Ron Brady :

@Account Closed 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.

 I was one of the people who said take the money, based on the context of the original post:

1. She had already taken down the original review, written the day after they were a no-show for the first time and the manager called and offered $2500 to make it right. Whether you want to call it "bought" or "giving the guy another shot", the tone was set at that point.

2. After her aggravation with the way they did business, which mostly revolved around not showing up when they said they would be there, she tried to shake them down for 50% off the job, which anyone in business would tell you is far beyond anything close to reasonable.

3. The contractors at that point agreed to give her even more money off the job, but because of the previous take-down and shake-down likely did not trust her to keep her word not to write another review and thus wanted an NDA. In fact, if the contractor had agreed to the 50% shakedown, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

I'm guessing, based on your post, you would have placed more value in saying "Sorry, I'm going with another contractor" on day two and writing your review than you would have valued the $2500. The original poster felt differently. In the context of understanding her acquiescence could already be purchased, the only reasonable advice is to take the $3k and not sign the NDA. That was my advice - but also that she might consider her own responsibility in this dilemma - allowing them to do the job anyway after the no-shows, wasting her tenant's time instead of her own time because she did not/could not be there in place of her tenant, writing a nasty review after the first no-show. 

The price is immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Either you can be bought or you can't. (I've learned that most people, and most things, in life, have a sales tag - it's just determining what the amount is). What if the company offered her $30k to not do a review? $300k? $3 million? Life is too full of uncertainty and shades of grey to speak in absolutes. 

Originally posted by @JD Martin :
Originally posted by @Ron Brady:

@Account Closed 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.

 I was one of the people who said take the money, based on the context of the original post:

1. She had already taken down the original review, written the day after they were a no-show for the first time and the manager called and offered $2500 to make it right. Whether you want to call it "bought" or "giving the guy another shot", the tone was set at that point.

2. After her aggravation with the way they did business, which mostly revolved around not showing up when they said they would be there, she tried to shake them down for 50% off the job, which anyone in business would tell you is far beyond anything close to reasonable.

3. The contractors at that point agreed to give her even more money off the job, but because of the previous take-down and shake-down likely did not trust her to keep her word not to write another review and thus wanted an NDA. In fact, if the contractor had agreed to the 50% shakedown, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

I'm guessing, based on your post, you would have placed more value in saying "Sorry, I'm going with another contractor" on day two and writing your review than you would have valued the $2500. The original poster felt differently. In the context of understanding her acquiescence could already be purchased, the only reasonable advice is to take the $3k and not sign the NDA. That was my advice - but also that she might consider her own responsibility in this dilemma - allowing them to do the job anyway after the no-shows, wasting her tenant's time instead of her own time because she did not/could not be there in place of her tenant, writing a nasty review after the first no-show. 

The price is immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Either you can be bought or you can't. (I've learned that most people, and most things, in life, have a sales tag - it's just determining what the amount is). What if the company offered her $30k to not do a review? $300k? $3 million? Life is too full of uncertainty and shades of grey to speak in absolutes. 

All fair points JD! And I definitely concur that most people most of the time do have a price. That’s why I love and married my wife—she consistently asks us the tough question and bluntly. We’ve never been offered $3M so, we can’t imagine how we’d react, so we don’t judge. I’d hope we’d say no, but we cannot know that today.

We offer no judgement on how each person invests—that’s the beauty of real estate and the free market. We would have gone back and forth with the contractor privately 3-4 times, after which we’d feel obligated to alert other potential buyers to our challenges. It’s how we do business.

Your comments are great food for thought and continued success to you in your investing!

@Tiffany Roberts there is no moral issue here, this is simply a legal settlement without lawyers where the parties to the settlement agree not to disparage/ hold harmless.

It would be a real issue to take the money and then write a bad review, as some have suggested, you might very well find yourself being sued and you would be very vulnerable.

Text of the NDA matters, personally I would agree to not writing a negative review (discount for not writing something? Awesome!) but wouldn’t agree to personal silence or non-disclosure of settlement.

At least you want to be able to say “ we settled a dispute on this project and agreed not to have further public comment. I am not using them again”

Do you want the settlement or not?

How much do you still owe?  Maybe I missed that part, but if they haven't finished the job and you're still fighting them to get there and get it done, then the $3,000 seems like a mute point right now.  I would take the money, however, at some point the money still isn't worth it if you're still having to deal with them for weeks on end.  Sometimes it's easier to cut your losses and figure out the next best solution.  I personally wouldn't sign an NDA with this company since they sound so shady.  I would, on my own morals, take the review down if I was handed $3,000, but as others have mentioned, make sure someone else wrote another one as well.

@Tiffany Roberts Hi Tiffany. I won't weigh in on the merits or demerits of your case. I am sure both sides have some points. I do think a lot of these comments sound like contractors. ;)

@Tiffany Roberts ohhhhh so hard.

I would probably write the review. My ethics would force me to. Your ethics may be different, and in no way "wrong" or sub-par to mine. But honestly the satisfaction of throwing up a middle finger to that guy on the internet would be worth it. It's not necessarily the late/no shows but the way you were treated. 100% WRONG. Businesses should not be allowed to get away with it. Make sure you put in your review that he wanted to pay you off and sign a NDA!

I find it unique that people are saying their ethics would compel them to write a negative review. Just stop and pause and think about that. Someone indicating that their moral compass and their ethics is leading them to write A public slander against someone that aggravated them. 



Originally posted by @Darrell Brown :

@Tiffany Roberts Hi Tiffany. I won't weigh in on the merits or demerits of your case. I am sure both sides have some points. I do think a lot of these comments sound like contractors. ;)

Some of us are Contractors...and  we have met customers like this before. Although I do believe the OP was mistreated, she also did certain things wrong. Yes I'm probably biased...my experience is that Contractors get screwed over by customers more than the reverse... :-)

Originally posted by @Joe S. :

I find it unique that people are saying their ethics would compel them to write a negative review. Just stop and pause and think about that. Someone indicating that their moral compass and their ethics is leading them to write A public slander against someone that aggravated them. 

That's a good point, Joe....Write the review or don't but don't call it ethics.....

Ethics bought for $3K.

Sad in society a person can be bought for so little. Pay the bill, post the review. Be a good role model if you have kids or family. Whoring out your ethics for cabinets really???

If you can't do the right thing without an incentive what does that say about you?

Think about your experience with this company. Would you have avoided the whole terrible experience if you had read a review you wrote similar to yours prior to hiring them? How many more people will have an experience similar to yours with this company because you can be bought off? How much pain and time wasted would you have saved if this company's reviews were legitimate? This is a very tough time for many businesses to perform as they have in the past or would like to with the issues of staffing. Many businesses are having a very hard time providing their services as promised, however, the lack of communication and follow-up and explaining the situation to you shows their lack of caring about maintaining good customer service. However, they have figured out the 'game' that they can buy off many problems rather cheaply, they tested you and you took the bait.

This is the same disgusting screw the next guy mentality like 'cash for keys' promoted by low snake in the grass 'investors'. 

I've seen how brazen people have become, a tenant long ago who we would not renew their lease due to chronic late payments, aggressive and passive-aggressive tendencies, outright continuous lying and more, actually put me down as a reference on the application of the new place she wanted to rent. My jaw hit the floor when the new potential landlord called me up. This is the mentality of people being created by rewarding these behaviors, she was convinced I would lie to the next landlord so as not to jeopardize her leaving my property peacefully, she was convinced enough to use me as a reference believing I would pass the buck down the road and screw the next person by giving her a good reference. Unbelievable.

Do the right thing Tiffany, you'll feel good about it later.