By using RateMyTherapist.com users agree to:
- Be honest and objective in assessments of the therapist and therapy experience.
- Consider the categories of accessibility, helpfulness, empathy, skillfulness, and overall client experience to determine ratings.
- Limit ratings to the therapist’s professional abilities.
- Do not rate a therapist more than once.
- Do not post a rating if you have not been a client of this therapist.
“Why were some of my ratings removed?” – We remove ratings if one of our automated spam filters thinks there were multiple ratings coming from the same source. When we detect this, we will usually remove the duplicate ratings.
“How do I get a rating removed from your site?” – We generally do not remove ratings. This site is for people to report on their experiences.
“But one of these ratings is false and it’s hurting my business. I want to send you a letter demanding that it be removed.” – We do not accept demand letters because it is not our role to determine whether a review is true or false. You might dispute the truth of a review, but your disputing it does not necessarily make it false.
“If you won’t accept a demand letter, I have no choice but to sue you.” – The Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”) protects the provider from liability for the statements of others on this website: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230. Federal courts have applied this standard on its terms: “By its plain language, Section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.” Zeran v. AOL, 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997). The ratings on this site are provided by our users, not by us. Thus, under the CDA, we are not the “publisher or speaker” of the ratings, even if they contain false information, and we are not liable for defamation, libel, fraud, or any other tort claim based on such activity.
“I think my demand letter would put you on notice that the review is false and defamatory. That makes you liable.” – Zeran,129 F.3d at 227, and the cases following it uniformly hold that it is not up to us to determine whether your demand letter is correct or the review is correct.
“But you lost your CDA immunity by aggregating the user ratings into an average.” – The most instructive case on aggregate ratings is the California Court of Appeals decision in Gentry v. eBay, which held that such ratings do not transform a site into an information content provider. 99 Cal. App. 4th 816, 834 (Cal. App. 2002).
“I’m going to sue you anyway. Taking down the review is cheaper than paying a lawyer.” – Twenty-eight states have passed strict anti- SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Laws, authorizing expedited motions to dismiss and giving rise to counterclaims seeking attorneys’ fees and liquidated damages.
“I’m not in the United States, and I’m going to sue you in my own jurisdiction.” – The United States has enacted strict laws protecting US companies from lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions. Even if you win a judgment under your local laws, it will not be enforceable in the United States. See, SPEECH Act of 2010.
“I’m planning to pose as a client and rate myself to increase my overall rating.” – We use automated algorithms and human moderators to detect and remove phony reviews. Also, posing as a client or hiring a firm to post ratings is a practice known as “astroturfing,” and is illegal. If you are caught, you could be liable for damages.
“Why do you allow people to post anonymously?” – The Supreme Court of the United States has held that anonymity of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution (see McIntyre v. Ohio, 514 U.S. at 337; Talley v. State of California, 362 U.S. 60). United States courts have consistently recognized that the right to speak anonymously extends to speech on the Internet (see Doe v. 2theMart.com and Doe v. Cahill).
“How can I identify the writer of a phony rating?” – RateMyTherapist.com does not keep records of individuals providing the ratings. Verified raters are given a code by therapists to differentiate verified clients from unverified clients.