(NOTE: Monitoring your funeral home’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your funeral home.)
In the past, we’ve been pretty vocal about the importance of online reviews for funeral home marketing. And we’ve also warned that trying to police your reviews to keep negative feedback from showing up can have disastrous consequences online.
The Federal Trade Commission recently hit several businesses with penalties related to this issue, and deathcare companies should take note so they can avoid similar consequences.
What Does the FTC Say About Prohibiting Negative Reviews?
Consumers have a protected right to speak out—in writing or otherwise—about their experiences with businesses. And those rights are protected by the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which prohibits companies from:
What Are the Consequences, and How Can You Avoid Them?
The FTC has yet to levy monetary fines on companies that are found in violation of the CRFA, but it has settled with a number of businesses. The settlements include requirements for the businesses to take two actions:
When you’re engaging in funeral home review marketing, encouraging families and clientele to leave reviews about your services to help boost your performance in Google, be careful to avoid any language that approaches the CRFA lines. Never include a ban on complaints or negative reviews in your service agreements.
While it’s okay to include a mediation or arbitration agreement to require clientele go through a mediator before taking legal action, you can’t dictate to the people you serve how they should speak or write about your company as a consumer.