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Home // Negative Reviews About Aesthetics Treatment: More Legal Options

We’ve previously examined some of the legal remedies available to aesthetics practitioners who fall victim to unjustified, negative online reviews. Defamation actions sometimes arise for example, or practitioners may be able to argue that the review breaches Google’s guidelines and ask for the urgent removal of the offending content. Here we look at other ways you can tackle a negative review about your aesthetics business to quickly and effectively minimise any potential commercial damage. In particular, we look at when a review may amount to harassment (which can lead to both criminal and civil sanctions) and we also consider if a negative review breaches your rights to data privacy under GDPR and other legislation.


Harassment is behaviour that causes alarm, anxiety or distress to the victim. It can take many forms. There’s an inaccurate perception that for harassment to occur there has to be a long-running campaign against an individual or business. Of course, many of our cases do involve lengthy and repeated publications of material designed to harm the reputation of our clients, and offline harassment must involve at least two publications of material that amounts to harassment. But – because of the nature of the internet – online harassment can arise through a single publication, including an online review – if the person who posted the review knew or ought to have known that it would amount to harassment.

The unique nature of aesthetics practices and the value placed by patients on the competence and trustworthiness of the aesthetics practitioner means that negative online reviews – in addition to being defamatory – could also amount to harassment because of the stress and anxiety they could engender in the practitioner.

Normally we would seek undertakings from someone engaged in harassing a client in this way to remove the offending material, issue an apology and agree not to repeat the comments. If proceedings become necessary, we would be in a position to seek damages, obtain any appropriate injunctions and recover legal costs on our client’s behalf. In addition, we may consider involving the police with a view to securing a criminal conviction for the harassing conduct.


Most online reviews will contain personal data as defined by GDPR, including the name of the aesthetics practitioner and the location of his or her business premises. When the review appears in a Google search result, the search engine is the data controller and processor of the data under GDPR.

If we are able to show that the content is malicious and false then Google, as the body with the means to remove the content, has a responsibility to do so.  In these circumstance, we can formally request Google to erase the personal data without delay, relying on the right to erasure under GDPR Article 17.

These requests for removal will always be accompanied by a reminder of our right to lodge a formal complaint with the Information Commissioner if our concerns are not adequately dealt with.  Remember under GDPR, controllers of data – like Google in the scenario we have described – face huge fines if they breach the legislation.


A survey of online reviews in 2021 shows that 94% of consumers will refuse to use a business that has a negative online review. Negative reviews that breach your GDPR rights or which amount to harassment need to be tackled directly and with urgency.

At Nath Solicitors in London we act for professionals working in aesthetics and related fields. We are regularly engaged in removing online reviews about aesthetics treatment and taking court proceedings where necessary to redress any damage caused by the reviews. To discuss these issues please contact our director Shubha Nath at Nath Solicitors on 44 (0) 203 983 8278 or get in touch with the firm online.


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