Google removed the one-star reviews from some restaurants' pages after they complained on social media. Other reviews were removed after restaurants’ customers complained online. Others have claimed that reaching Google to get the issue resolved has proven to be a major challenge.
Lawmakers have urged restaurants to contact Google directly if they are victims of this crime. This kind of extortion is considered a cybercrime.
“You’re just kind of defenceless,” Julianna Yang, the general manager of Sons & Daughters in San Francisco, told the NYT. “It seems like we’re just sitting ducks, and it’s out of luck that these reviews might stop.”
Some restaurants have tried posting the text of the original email under the negative review, however, that just led to an even stronger-worded email from the scammers: “We can keep doing this indefinitely. Is $75 worth more to you than a loss to the business?”