BadConsumers.com a Good Idea for Small Biz? - Free Enterprise
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BadConsumers.com a Good Idea for Small Biz?

There are lots of customer review websites but most of them rate businesses rather than allow businesses to give reviews of bad customers.

Consumer protection is great but sometimes businesses need a way to protect themselves from bad customers too. Allowing business owners to share information about people who don't pay their bills or argue over already agreed-upon prices is an important service, especially for small businesses.

Peter Robideau created a service to fill that need, www.badconsumers.com, but think twice before you register.

The worst thing that happens to a customer who writes a bad review on a website like Yelp is that they get some negative comments. For a business the consequences can be much more serious.

Consumers might be wary of a business that makes nasty comments about clients, even if the comments are well deserved. It can also cost you repeat business if the customer you complain about was planning to come back.

Robideau's site, which business owners can subscribe to for free, does have some protections for companies. It's not open to everyone.

In order to register, users need to provide a legitimate Tax ID number. Currently the site has about 500 members and Robideau hopes to create a paid-subscription model.

While the Tax ID requirement will stop people from randomly signing up for the service, it doesn't mean consumers won't find out about the site. A user could potentially use a Tax ID number that belongs to an unrelated business. Or a member could decide to make the information on certain customers public.

Just because the service has risks doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile and it could save business owners time and money by alerting them to potentially bad customers.

Before signing up for Robideau's website, or a similar service that allows you to rate customers, consider the cost it could have for your company. In the long run it might just be better to hire an attorney when you need to deal with a difficult customer rather than risk your reputation.

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