Verace in Shelton tells Eyewitness News that the website known as Yelp is taking down positive posts about the New Haven County restaurant because the owners do not want to buy advertising.
"No business can afford to have something negative about them out there," said owner Kelly Calandro.
Shortly after the restaurant's opening earlier this year, a Yelp sales representative contacted the owners and asked them about purchasing advertising. The Calandros declined the offer and noticed posts being removed from the site.
They said whenever the ad rep called about advertising and they did not agree to advertise, several positive posts were removed from the site.
"At first, it was about us and we wondered what did we do," Kelly Calandro said. "When we did some research, we found out it wasn't just us."
Yelp has faced several case action lawsuits in the past for exhorting small businesses for advertising sales. All cases were dismissed.
A Yelp spokesman said that Calandro searched them out about advertising after the first call and the posts on her Yelp profile were suspicious.
"There has never been any amount of money that you can pay Yelp to manipulate reviews and claims to the contrary have been repeatedly thrown out of court," according to a Yelp statement.
"We want the business and the users frankly to be treated fairly," Kelly Calandro said.
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