Dealing with an Unjustified Negative Google Review in Austria
Dealing with an Unjustified Negative Google Review in Austria

Google reviews and other rating platforms play a crucial role in helping individuals, landmarks, businesses, restaurants, etc., to be better assessed in advance. Some users also utilize negative Google reviews to express things they would never say to the reviewed business owner in a personal conversation. In some cases, individuals vent their frustrations publicly. This is often done under a pseudonym, making it difficult to identify the creator of the Google review for the one being reviewed. This article will provide you with some clearity how to deal with an unjustified negative Google review in Austria.

Removal of Negative Google Review in Austria

For the reviewed business owner, a negative review can be detrimental to their business. Initially, they may attempt to have the Google review removed by reporting it to Google. However, this process can be challenging as Google needs to consider not only the protection of the one being reviewed but also the freedom of expression of the reviewer. If the reviewer is anonymous, the reviewed business is also dependent on obtaining the reviewer's data.

Decision of the Higher Regional Court Graz on the Negative Google Review for a Pediatrician

In a recent decision by the Higher Regional Court Graz (OLG Graz 17 Bs 119/23h), the case involved a pediatrician. The doctor received an unjustifiably negative review on Google, coupled with insults. The user acted anonymously. This was presented by the doctor to Google and requested the disclosure of the contact details of the reviewing user. While the lower court had a different perspective, the OLG Graz ultimately decided that Google, "contrary to the view of the lower court, is not only a host provider but also the media owner of the Google Local Listings platform." As a media owner, Google is also responsible for the content of the reviews. As a result, Google was ordered to pay the doctor EUR 2,000 in compensation and delete the review.

Conclusion: Removing a Negative Google Review Can Be Challenging but Worthwhile

The significant aspect of this decision is that the OLG Graz established that Google is the media owner of the Google Local Listings platform. This means that Google must take targeted responsibility for the content of the reviews in the future. It may take some time to get a negative review removed from the platform for Austrian businesses but there is a pretty good chance to succeed.

Do you have further questions?

Having questions about our services or need porfessional assistance in the removal of negative Google reviews? We are here to help you and provide guidance through a lawyer. As specialized attorneys, we are here to help protect your reputation. Feel free to contact our law firm under office@geuer.at or by phone at +43-1-4380072. We look forward to hearing from you.

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