Angry Store Owner Assaults Yelp Reviewer Who Called Her Store "a Total Mess"

Man pans bookstore on Yelp. Bookstore owner tracks him down, writes harassing emails, and tries to break into his house. Man responds by calling police—and Yelping about the entire experience.

In what can only be described as a paradigm of Internet justice, a California Yelp user named "Sean C." was able to follow up his initial negative review of a San Fransisco bookstore with this gem:

Yelp

The user created a Flickr set of screenshots containing threatening message that the bookstore owner had sent. Only once he produced the screenshots did a Yelp administrator offer to help Sean C. stop the harassment, according to Gawker.

Yelp

As Gawker notes, the store owner's swings between plaintive hurt ("I have no money to pay for help") and outright fury ("Do you not have a girlfriend... I can see why") are perhaps unique to that unique brand of Internet passive aggression that allows for brutal, anonymous honesty.

The bookstore owner was arrested and placed in psychiatric holding, and has been served with a restraining order, according to Sean C.

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5 Comments

  • jb

    Mu yelp profile has initials and general location.  I was just verbally assaulted by a business owner who linked my yelp review to my profile and his personal records.   Was about a nanosecond away from calling the police and hung up.  He called again and we spoke more calmly.   In the end, he had to admit that based on the actual experiences I had, the review was accurate at the time of writing.  However, his position was that having been told that my review was prompted by his employee's innocent misinformation, retaining the review on yelp was now libel and slander.  I suggested revising my review to update that i had been misinformed by his employees.  He said that would be slander and that he would sue me. 

    Does one have an expectation of privacy when posting on yelp? 

  • Bryan Broadbent

    I could see this being a real situation and a real problem quite possibly stemming from the evil tactics of yelp. If everyone was honest, review sites like yelp would be an excellent tool for both store owner and customer. However, yelp extorts business owners for advertising money. Yelp also has enough money to hire great attorneys so as to keep out of legal trouble but they have been to court for alleged extortion. Certain customers are equally guilty of extorting favorable pricing of goods and services from businesses with the promise of leaving "good reviews" in exchange. Personally, taking anything seriously that you read on yelp is about as smart as buying a Rolex on Craigslist. 

    Notwithstanding, either the store owner was nuts or the customer pulled some seriously insulting crap with her. I suspect we aren't hearing the entire story from the customer. Obviously, the store owner had no business going to the persons home. As far as the address goes, the store owner could have found it on the internet or maybe she had it already from a previous transaction. I would like to hear her side. 

    Maybe we should all go back to kindergarten and relearn the basics like, "Don't eat the glue. and the ever famous, If you don't have anything nice to say, shut the hell up." 

  • SERGI BOSCH

    whoa! i'm a yelper. i would not want the world to find out about my horrible experience staying at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. they run a sneaky advertising/promotions scam on their reservations page of their website. and they are aware of it. (like, it says, "book now and save an additional 10%" - but what they mean is "book now and you'll get the price above - not an additional 10% off of that"). they get about 4 complaints a month regarding this issue, the concierge told me. and yet- they don't fix it. why? well, how many people that are 40 and up (ie, the average Palace Hotel customer) will actually argue U.I. (user interface) with them? well, i will. but they bounced me around to about 4 different "customer sales" managers. sigh...