How to write a negative Angie's List review

How to write a negative Angie's List review

Honest feedback is the heart of Angie’s List. Truthful reviews, even of a negative service experience, go beyond helping members make smart hiring decisions. They can help a good business get better.

Just ask member Nancy Kessler of Reston, Va., who shared with our Angie’s List Newsroom her surprise at the result of a review she wrote last year. Originally, she’d had such a good experience with a heating and cooling company installing an air conditioner that she asked for estimates for a maintenance plan and other work.

Weeks passed, and Nancy still hadn’t gotten the estimates from this highly rated company. Frustrated after having spent $8,000 on her first transaction, she detailed her subsequent experience in a review.

What happened the morning after her review appeared on Angie’s List illustrates why I believe honest feedback benefits everyone involved. The company owner called Nancy, saying he’d seen the review. But to her surprise, he was anything but angry.

“It turned out that an employee went on leave with an illness and never returned,” she told our reporter. “My review, and the discussion of the problem within the company, caused them to find a whole file that had not been acted on. There were other people, not just me. So, they were able to recover a lot of customers.”

Now that’s impact. And it’s why I urge you to honestly report on your experiences – positive and negative – with service companies and health care providers. Because Nancy’s case isn’t that unusual.

Companies that value their ratings — and that’s the majority — will try to make things right when a member expresses dissatisfaction. I assure business owners that even the best companies will receive an occasional bad review. How you respond, I tell them, is your chance to prove what your company is really all about.

Members, too, reveal themselves in how they approach a review. My cardinal rules for review writing:


• Keep it honest.

• Keep it objective.

• Keep it polite.


When writing about a less-than-satisfying service experience, focus on providing constructive criticism, not making a personal attack. It’s one thing to say that someone showed up late and performed sloppy work. It’s another to say he’s a crook.

We offer more than just reviews, of course. Through our Complaint Resolution Process, we’ll go to bat for you if you have a problem with a service company. We also have a set of policies to deter companies from using threatening or abusive behavior to thwart negative reviews. Faced with a potential suspension from the List, most companies back away from such abuses.

The bottom line is that your reviews are important and what you say matters. With a positive review, you let the company know that what they’re doing works. With a negative review, you’re providing valuable tips for how to improve. That’s a win-win for everyone.

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The best way to approach online reviews


Your online review can help other consumers make hiring decisions, and business fine-tune their practices. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Your online review can help other consumers make hiring decisions, and business fine-tune their practices. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Here are my top three rules for consumers, and three more for businesses, when it comes to the right way to handle online consumer reviews of service companies.

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Nathalie Miller

Subject: I brought my car to find out

I brought my car to find out why I had to have a jump start.The experience was that the owner ended up to be rude,belligerent and greedy.Not only to me but my daughter also.

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