Car 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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think Google is trying to weed out planted reviews.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I purchased my car from a dealership that had 100% positive reviews on Google and had nothing but problems afterwards. The customer service was horrible and no one was ever available to talk to you after they had made the sale. Good for Google for getting rid of the BS reviews out there. I find it hard to believe that a Suzuki dealership had 400 positive reviews. What, did every person who bought a Suzuki there write 4 positive reviews about them?
      Cheese Patrol
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good! Tons of dealers review themselves and this practice is extremely deceitful. One local dealer (Brickell Honda) was getting 10 - 20 reviews PER DAY. They had over 1,800 reviews at one point. Today they're down to 69.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've worked at the dealer level before and they are all shady to some point. Typically Stealerships are slime!!! It's time for corporate stores that have rules guidelines and not some spoiled dealer kid who inheritted the store who knows sh!t about business. We need corporate stores that operate with ethics and class, a store that knows how to be honest and treat customers like people.
      • 2 Years Ago
      In other words - STOP REVIEWING YOURSELF!
      • 2 Years Ago
      i had a terrible experience at a Kia dealer, where they tried to quote me $35,000 on a $20k Rio, so I wrote a negative review, in line with the existing other ~10 negative reviews. Then suddenly over the next month, a slew of one-line "THIS DEALER IS GREAT!" reviews popped up, and pushed all the negatives to the bottom. I'm guessing a few bad dealers might be ruining it for the legitimate ones, but I'd really like to see these overtly fake reviews removed.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like they need to re-write all there own reviews again and do not want to pay them do them again. I do not trust online reviews as you can not be sure they are valid anyway.
      Smooth Motor
      • 2 Years Ago
      1/3 of all online reviews are fake. I take them all with a grain of salt.
      Mr. Black
      • 2 Years Ago
      The reviews were probably written by the dealers and salesmen themselves while sitting and waiting for a customer to roll into the showroom,
      • 2 Years Ago
      Basically, you have to think of Google or any of the other search engines and social media as a wall that sits on private property. It is theirs to paint over or sell whenever they want. This is the flaw with the whole Internet. Nothing is permanent, yet anything bad never really ever goes away, and nothing is private.
      • 2 Years Ago
      We all know that rarely do we go online to post a positive review. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's very rare. It's when we have a bad experience and frustrated that we go online to post a negative review. I'm not siding with Google nor the merchants, but I'd be hesitant when I see more positive than negative review. Again, it doesn't mean it can't happen, I'd just be hesitant about it.
      Travis Miles
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does not Google own the data.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Travis Miles
        Yes, and consider that as you use android, chrome, gmail, google+, and all of their other "free" stuff.
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