Yelp.com; A true user-review service or a pay-to-go-away revenue source?
UPDATE: My review is now on Yelp, as one of two total reviews. Maybe because I called them out? I have left positive reviews on Yelp so maybe they really had no choice? And this post is the result of several emails to the mechanic in order to rectify the situation and having received no explanation for why I would be charged $100 for a FREE consultation and quote. I do not by any means wish to cause harm to anyone, but rather only to warn others to avoid that which I almost did not escape were it not for several friends’ warnings to me.
No good can come from ill-gotten gains.
I kindly did not name the shop in my post, but used key words such that the shop in question would possibly turn up in search engine results for “Diesel Repair Greenfield, MA” and similarly worded searches, and did insert visual clues, though I did not identify them as such.
I posted this not to bore people and thus cause them to flee my site in utter ennui, but solely to save others from that which nearly happened to/financially devastated me, till I was saved by highly suspicious friends (some of whom are familiar with/former acquaintances of the owner/mechanic at this single employee’ shop).
All of this — this inexplicable $100 fee (which may as well be $1000 within the scope of my budget) for escaping a huge and ridiculously unnecessary car repair bill — reminds me of the final scene in the hilarious Steve Buscemi film, Fargo, in which the cop (brilliantly portrayed to comedic perfection by Francis McDormand), catches a guy using a log to further jam what is left of his accomplice into a wood chipper and subsequently arrests him. The final final scene is of these two in the police car slowly driving head-on into a blindingly white snowy horizon, as she lectures the culprit by way of saying, “And your friend there in the wood chipper? All for a little bit of money…”:
It would be far more amusing to focus on humorous or interesting things, anecdotes which will amuse and entertain, but I have a strong tendency toward empathy and a killer conscience which is SO relentless and anal that I’d not be at peace were I to later hear that someone I know or who reads my blog went to that shop and spent thousands for unnecessary repairs, as almost befell me. I noted in the post that I would kindly not name the place publicly but that I would answer private email inquiries.
But then as I outlined the chronological details of my experience, I saw it more clearly; it became impossible to not see that there absolutely was the possibility that my $2300 quote — to fix a “cracked” fuel injection pump which turned out to be MERELY a very obvious and visible-to-the-naked-eye loose bolt, which was fixed elsewhere by a twist of the wrist and free of charge — was not only avoidable, but that by now, after being charged $100 (by way of non-fully-returned deposit) for the FREE quote, that I could not be sure that I would have been spared once the mechanic got in and could, “perhaps”, then more clearly see that the not-crack was truly not a crack.
So I reviewed the company on Yelp.com and when I mentioned this to said friend she informed me of a rumor going around which asserts that one can pay yelp.com to “clean” their reviews. So I checked my review today and, gasp!, it is gone. I then sent a friend the link to where my review ought to be on that business’ page on Yelp.com in case one cannot see one’s own reviews (though it does turn up as visible to me ONLY in the form of my ability to edit it) who reported, “Nope. I don’t see it.”
I wrote to yelp.com asking why; what part of my factual review does not meet their terms and guidelines (which I skimmed) and am waiting for a reply, which I will post here, if I receive one.
There are many other websites where on can review businesses and it may well be that the rumor of buying a “cleanse” are false, or that it is true and is a widespread practice, and any combination thereof. Maybe it is time to research available consumer review sites and write about that. Meanwhile, for the record, that Diesel Repair Shop? It’s Evergreen Motors in Greenfield, MA. I will not, however, name the owner as that may be considered “private information”, though it is on his site and blog, and mostly like the Facebook page for his business.
But I may just change the title of that post, and this one, to include the name. All I want is to save others from financial distress. I have nothing to gain at this point and even if a refund of my money were offered I’d not accept it because that would make these posts seem unethical and akin to blackmail, and my conscience would not allow it.