SOUTH JERSEY (WTXF) - A small business owner is shocked after receiving hundreds of bad reviews on his Facebook page in a matter of minutes.
"I run an honest business so I was devastated; shocked."
A rude surprise for Gerard Petersen who owns a pressure washing business in South Jersey. He says his phone blew up one night with an overload of fake reviews of his company.
"All of the sudden within a six to eight minute time frame 217 one star ratings were on my business Facebook page," he told FOX 29.
He says he's been running the Petersen Pressure Wash for five, happy, successful years and never had anything like this happen before.
"It came one after another and every time I'd refresh you'd see more and more and more—all 1 star ratings and there was nothing that I could do," he said. "I'm scared because as a father of five, three of my own and two stepsons, this is how I support my family. This is how I feed my kids and I'm scared that it's going to impact my business."
We looked at the Facebook Page and could see dozens of accounts that posted 1 star rankings but with no comments to back up their alleged grievances. They all appeared to come from other countries as well and Gerard says he's already taken a hit.
Anthony Mongeluzo runs Pro Computer Service and says he's been there, too.
"We've had some reviews calling us a restaurant and other service businesses that we're clearly not in."
He says business owners can flag negative reviews and respond, but warns there are no guarantees since trolling is a business, too.
In the meantime, Gerard says he's just going to work harder.
"The only thing I can say to the person who is behind it—you're going to see me a lot more—you're going to see a lot more of my signs—a lot more advertising—you're going to see a lot more customer satisfaction."