Google logoCar salesmen have long ranked among the most universally reviled members of society, just south of real estate agents and lawyers. But the past decade has seen the plaid sports jacket and gold chain crowd doing much to bolster their image, with many auto dealers building impressive online reputations by cultivating positive customer feedback.

That's where this latest tale of woe begins: Automotive News is reporting that Google has been deleting hundreds of reviews of dealerships from its Google+ Local pages, but doing so in a capricious and arbitrary fashion. The dealerships, as you might expect, are angry.

One Suzuki dealer who reportedly had 400 reviews zapped in two days time told AN, "Google believes it can do whatever it wants and has no accountability." His store saw its positive ranking disappear as a result of the deleted reviews. Google's response was that it has merely been trying to make sure that reviews are "authentic, relevant, and useful," according to the report. The Suzuki store owner and two other dealers have subsequently filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

Google has no formal way for dealers to appeal the deletions, or even understand why they were made, leaving them with little recourse but to go through the process of rebuilding their cache of positive reviews one customer at a time.