We have been reading everywhere about how a contract stifling negative reviews has gone terribly wrong for a New York dental practice, and decided to ask our clients to weigh in.
A Manhattan dentist asked would-be patients to sign a contract before receiving services. The “Mutual Agreement to Remain Privacy” form sought to prevent patients from criticizing the dentist on review sites, Internet blogs, or online forums. Moreover, a copyright clause in the form assigned the dentist as the owner of any such comments so that she can have them removed in the event they appeared.
The patient alleges that he was required to pay the practice $4,800 up front to treat his sore tooth in 2010, and she would submit paperwork to his insurance for reimbursement. Sounds pretty simple! However, the patient says that the doctor’s office never submitted the claims to his insurance, nor would they provide him with necessary paperwork to submit the claims on their own (seems she didn’t use DentalXChange for electronic claims!).
This prompted the patient to take to Yelp! and other online websites and write a negative review about the doctor, which she saw as a breach of contract. She subsequently tried to fine the patient for the negative remarks, to which he counter-sued. In a twist of irony, the story has caught fire among media outlets and bloggers and tarnished the reputation of the dentist. You can read more about this on Forbes.com.
We’d like to know how you feel about reviews on online websites. How do reviews affect your practice? As a dentist, do you think they help you more or hurt you more?