How to remove a Ripoff Report: updated for 2013

So someone has posted something unsavory about you on RipoffReport.com. What can you do to remove a ripoff report? The answer is not just sit there twiddling your thumbs while your reputation gets dragged through the virtual mud. No, no, contrary to what you may think, you do have options. They’re not easy, nor are they quick, but they do get the job done…if you’re willing to put in the work.

Rebuttals can fan the fire

The first thing you should do is RESIST THE URGE to post a rebuttal on RipoffReport.com. Yours will be seen underneath the original, offending report and only serve to add more negative content to search. Instead, go to UntrueReport.com and post your rebuttal there. I’ll talk more on this later.

This could get expensive!

One thing you can do is pay Ripoff Report (RR). If you can make peace with the fact that you are giving money to the very company that is responsible for housing the disparaging remarks you’re trying to expunge, there are two different paths you can take:  becoming a member of their “Corporate Advocacy Program” or enrolling in a “VIP Arbitration Program.” The former is more expensive and will only result in positive content (RR may say something along the lines of the issue was resolved and you are back in good standing) appearing above the negative report if and only if Ripoff Report’s “investigation” into the statements made about you prove to be libelous. The latter involves an RR arbitrator and a forum for you to plead your case. If said arbitrator finds in your favor, Ripoff Report may choose to redact any untruthful statements from the report, but not take the whole thing down. So regardless of which one you choose, an unappealing listing will still be up on the site.

What if I sue them?

Don’t bother trying to sue the author of the report or Ripoff Report. It’s a waste of time and money. Even if you win and submit your findings to RR, they still won’t remove a ripoff report and they are impervious to any liability under the freedoms of the Communications Decency Act, so any lawsuit against them wouldn’t stick. What you can do is hire a reputation management firm to “bury” the material. This is a costly option, and again won’t result in getting it removed from the Internet, but it will at least get it off the first page of search results. These companies spend countless hours creating and then inundating the web with positive content, so the report gets weighted down underneath it all, like being at the bottom of a dog pile.

All of those options won’t get the report taken down, and once it’s up, you really can’t do anything to take it down unfortunately. You can, however, get Google to delist it from their search index, ultimately making it “unsearchable.” Here’s how:

File a lawsuit against the original author, not RR (or Google—NEVER SUE GOOGLE), for slander, defamation of character, etc., whatever legal term is most appropriate in your case.  MAKE SURE you can verify the validity of your case in a court of law. If you know the report is true or you can’t prove that it isn’t, then don’t even try. Move on to another option.

After you win your case, obtain a court order decreeing the defamatory report to be factually inaccurate and present it to Google. They will, in turn, honor that order and completely remove the displeasing report from its search index, letting it rot and decay in the un-Googleable abyss. It’ll still be on Ripoff Report, but the search reference to it won’t. Instead something like this will appear:

“In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result from this page….”

File an Untrue Report

Regardless of what approach you decide to take, one thing you should do is state your case on UntrueReport.com. It’s a completely safe space for you to confront your attacker and rebuke his/her claims. You can offer your side of the story without any fear of repercussion or retaliation. You also won’t be adding fuel to the already-burning fire because anything written on this site only serves to help you by creating positive content that could counteract the efficacy of the offending one (kind of like what a reputation management firm would do, but on a smaller scale).

Filing an Untrue Report is a much better alternative to writing something on RR, which could be seen childish and ineffectual to any future potential clients; and, you’ll be creating a new search result that can rank high on Google and even push down the offensive content.

 

 

About Sara Dowe

Sara Dowe has a B.S. degree in Telecommunications, Multimedia, and Applied Computing (TMAC) from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and a B.A. degree in English. Sara has taught English to international students and abroad in such countries as South Korea. She currently resides in Southern California where she writes for corporations as a Brand Ambassador and Media Relations Consultant.

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