Six ways to write a banging bad review

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Who hasn’t experienced 30 minutes of call centre music (really, the world wasn’t ready for Gangnam Style reimagined via the panpipe) only to be unceremoniously cut off? Had an ATM swallow their card? Who hasn’t arrived home from payday mall madness to find their organic chicken breasts are off? Or received crummy clothes from an online order? Or suffered through a waitron who was clearly envisioning your face as a dartboard? 

Bad service is universal, but luckily the internet and social media provide consumers with public forums to air their grievances. But woah now. Before you reach for the blue warpaint and flaming pitchfork (or just, you know, your keyboard), make sure that your bad review is geared to actually resolve your issue. Read on for six tips on penning the perfect online note.

1. Context is key 🔑

While you’re entitled to great service, studies have shown that a few negative reviews can cancel a newly minted business. 

Before you compose that scathing takedown, consider the context of the brand, business or service that you’re about to vilify. Are they new? Small? Learning on the job? Can their reputation handle a negative review? Digital disses are forever. Consider whether online is the best forum to go full 2007 Britney, you may just find that a quiet face-to-face or phone call will suffice.

2. Give it some time ⏳

Like any event that involves negative emotions, it’s always best to take mom’s advice. Sleep on it. Count to 10. Take some deep breaths. 

It’s always best to wait a while before launching into an online tirade – let the dust settle and revisit the event in the cold light of day. Ditto for giving the business time to respond and rectify before going full throttle online avenger.

3. Start with the positives 🎁

Ah, the good old feedback sandwich. Humans are primed to respond to criticism if it’s constructive and alternated with some praise. If you can, highlight the positives before you start with the negatives. It makes you seem like a good oke, and is more likely to inspire action from the recipient of your review. 

4. Lay down the facts 🤓

Reviews that are simply a host of insults or snide comments with no indication of what happened, or why you’re peeved, are a waste of everybody’s time. Instead of writing YOU SUCK!!!, calmly and factually describe the series of events that led to your displeasure. Include dates, times, locations, what went down, who was involved, and (if possible) all previous correspondence.

Not only does this completely validate your account of what occurred, it also makes it much easier for the brand or business on the other side to make good.

5. Cut out the exaggeration ✂️

Lay off the hyperbole. It’s unlikely that this was literally the worst day of your life, that you were like totally traumatised, or that you’ve never ever been so offended in your life. Unless it’s absolutely warranted, it’s best not to exaggerate – it tends to put your credibility on the line. 

It also could land you in hot water. Embellishing what actually happened is a total no-no. While unlikely (businesses have thick skins y’all), stretching the truth (or as we like to call it, straight-up lying) is technically defamatory. And the recipients of your rant are within their rights to seek action.

6. Don’t be an *** ❌

Yes, you’re frustrated, but that doesn’t give you the right to act like a mean baby. Lay off the petty digs (seriously, what does the waiter’s mullet have to do with your dish being cold), the name-calling, and the threats. Not only is this kind of behaviour super bad for your karma, it’s less likely to get your problem resolved speedily.

So there you have it. Your six steps to writing a banging bad review. Don’t forget to put your new skills to work by writing recommendations others can trust over at


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