The power of an online review can often make-or-break a business, so what happened when a New York dentist decided to start charging a customer for virtual bad-mouthing? The doctor gets slapped with a lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court accuse Dr. Stacy Makhnevich of allegedly charging former patient Robert Lee $100 for every day his negative Yelp review about her billing practices remained online, the NY Daily News wrote his original post as saying :
"'Avoid at all cost!' his Yelp posting read. 'Scamming their customers!”"
The unhappy patient claims self-proclaimed "Classical Singer Dentist of New York" Makhnevich over billed him by $4,000 and accused Lee of breaching the “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy” that he signed that stipulated the dentist would gain copyright to any online reviews.
The moonlighting opera singer's attempt to prevent negative online reviews of her work backfired, however.
More than 90 one-star reviews have accumulated since word spread of the doctor’s muzzle attempt, creating a Makhnevich slam-post on Yelp.
Nicholas S. wrote “This dentist just committed online reputation suicide by threatening to sue a patient for posting a negative review. Better hire an SEO (or a team of them) pretty quick.”
Attempts to contact Makhnevich by the media have been unsuccessful.