Is it illegal to post a website or Facebook page blacklisting certain clients to give other therapists a heads up?

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Comments (18)

shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

37 months ago

Since I moved to a bigger city and started doing more advertising on Craigslist (I know CL attracts a lot of creepers but I have got a lot of good clients out of it, too) I've received a lot of inquiries about happy endings, extras, etc. some of which occur in the massage room. Fortunately, most people check beforehand to see what you do and don't do, and if you just do professional massage they don't bother with you. But some slip through the cracks.

I rent a room in a medical building with another therapist and often we get the same clients so we compare notes. Is there anything wrong or slanderous about posting a website with the names and MO of the clients who are looking for sexual favors so we can avoid them? Something like a www.dontdatehimgirl.com but only for massage therapists?

Thank you in advance.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

37 months ago

As an attorney I worked for said, never put in print something you would not printed on the front page of the local newspaper.

Yes, there is something wrong or slanderous about you ACCUSING AND PRINTING the name of someone you say asked you for sexual favors. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty - unless they happen to come across you.

You print the names of clients, and you are liable to get a civil lawsuit, and also lose your massage license.

Imagine this: One of your clients puts on his Facebook: One of your clients puts in print something slanderous about you - whether it is true or not.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

37 months ago

I did a little searching and found there is indeed a site for situations like this. It also includes a disclaimer:

FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH A Constitutionally Protected Right

1997 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that speech on the Internet receives the highest level of First Amendment protection. The Supreme Court explained that our cases provide no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied to this medium, meaning the internet.

2003 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that "gripe sites" devoted to complaints about people or businesses were afforded First Amendment protection.

The ACLU said. "Consumer criticism and commentary has long been recognized as core protected speech. In the context of cyberspace, that right does not diminish, in fact, it expands."

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Chase Sanders in North Miami Beach, Florida

37 months ago

Why dont you just add part of your consent form on the CL site where you advertise? You know, the ethics part as to what the client should expect and what happens should they attempt any unwanted acts. That simple, problem solved.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

37 months ago

I do, but people still try. All they are looking at on the ad is the phone number. I have my hours and prices listed and I can't tell you how many people call and ask what times I work and what do I charge even though it was right in front of them.

One time I got frustrated and asked a caller inquiring about sensual massage why he would ask about such a thing when I clearly stated I did not do that. He responded that most ads are like that, they cannot come out and say they do "extras" so you just have to ask...

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Chase Sanders in North Miami Beach, Florida

37 months ago

As for myself, Id never advertise on CL.... just look at the percentage of other ads posted there by massage therapists. First off, half dont even have a license number to show creds and at the same time those that dont are not licensed. Be honest with yourself and think of the first reaction that comes to mind when you think " advertising massage on craigslist ". Youre better off making a website, fliers and going door to door and apartments. It will cut half of that nonsense out.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

37 months ago

I do have a website, hand out flyers, etc. I do trade shows, fundraisers and advertise in the civic league papers. It is just me so I don't have a whole lot of money to advertise, and like I said, I have got a lot of good clients through CL. I have to make my rent every month so unfortunately I rely on CL to bring in some business. They are not all bad - about 50/50.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

37 months ago

Shannon, aside from the Disclaimer, I would also have a two-minute chat with a new client, advising them that although you advertise on craigslist, you are in no way providing sexual services, and should they attempt such, you will end the massage immediately, and ask them if they understand. They give them the Disclaimer, have them read it and sign it. If they sign it, then take them in the room for a massage. That should help.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

37 months ago

That's good advice. I try to establish that on the phone, when they initially book the appointment but I think some of these people try so many different therapists they get mixed up with who they've contacted and what they do and don't do so they don't always remember. So it probably wouldn't hurt to review with them.

You don't know what a relief it is when someone calls and asks if I am a legitimate therapist and then books with me!

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

37 months ago

Two of my posts didn't post. Make a Disclaimer advising them you are not providing sexual services and should they start anything you will end the massage immediately and they will not get their money back.

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Wes in Pompano Beach, Florida

34 months ago

I think it's good to have some kind of warning for massage therapists. One of our employees did an outcall one night and didn't worry about charging up front because he had been a good repeat customer. When the session had ended, he asked her to take her clothes off. When she refused, he said he wasn't paying her. And he didn't either. We contacted the sheriff's office and there is absolutely nothing we can do about the situation. The only thing we can hope to do is to help other massage therapists not find themselves in a similar situation.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

34 months ago

What a creep! I make a point of never doing outcalls, and never allowing anyone in our home for that very reason. That guy had probably been planning that little escapade for a while. And you're right - there is nothing anyone can do. It's your word against theirs. I guess this good repeat customer won't be coming back to your center!

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Utah LMT in orem, Utah

34 months ago

I have two seperate experiences with CL. One I worked for someone else that advertised there, and I have myself. And like you said when she was advertising on CL it was about 50/50 and you get the good clients that make you think, well it's not all bad. I have been advertising my private practice on CL for 9 months and have only had 1 client say something inapropriate. This is what I do: I don't have any signs or plaques or anywhere on my website asking for tips or saying that there are "services" I don't provide. Posting anything that says that cheapens the look of your office and makes people think you are asked that a lot. I do however say Licensed Massage Therapist. Some people don't know what LMT means so spelling it out helps. I always wear black slacks to massage with a polo shirt that has the name of my buisness embroidered on it, so clients know that my business is professional as soon as they see me. And don't post a picture of yourself on CL I know it seems like you should because everyone else does, but if someone is on there looking for legitimate massage they don't care what color your hair is. If you implement those changes I think you will see a difference in the clients who call you.

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

31 months ago

Utah, that is very good advice.

I've since relocated to a chiropractor/massage center where I rent a room. The creepers have dwindled away to almost nothing. I've got a very good clientele. On the odd occasion I have someone who is a little odd - for instance, this older man came to see me and became irate at the fact I wouldn't massage him with only a hand towel covering him. In my experience, guys who only want to be draped with a hand towel are bad news. He stormed out so at worst I was out travel time and prep time for this guy.

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R.N. in Augusta, Georgia

25 months ago

POOR Shannon!!! I feel for ya girl,seriously! I am looking into going to school to become a massage therapist and am also interested in Acupuncture. Out of curiosity, if you don't mind; Is the money pretty descent? I'm a struggling single mother who is going to school for this to provide a better life for me, and that of my child. I'll kick a pervs. a** if they ever try to pull that B.S. on me!!! Oh, and I will not do a massage if they don't pay 1st! I'm sorry u had to go through that hell!UGH!!!

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

25 months ago

Hi, R.N.

Yes, and no. In my area there are many, many therapists. A lot of them have seen the ads on TV for colleges and go into it expecting to make $30 per hour plus tips. After they graduate they find unless they have a clientele, it is very hard to get started. That is where chains such as Massage Luxe and Massage Envy win. They pay the therapists an hourly wage plus tips. It isn't too bad a wage, but for a single mother you would have to do a bit of juggling around as these chains expect you to work weekends and evenings.

If you can get on at a chiropractor clinic or gym where the staff can send people your way, it is ideal. Some of them do commission, and some will rent you a room for a flat rate. If you can, start on a commission basis, then move to room rent once you get busy.

I rent a room for $480 per month in a chiro/massage clinic. This includes everything but my oils and lotion. It is the best deal I've found since moving to Virginia. It is literally minutes from my home. I opted to do a Groupon deal which has kept me busy for three months. The wage isn't terrific - $15 per hour - but tips are good and I've retained a good clientele. No creepers! I offer returning clients deals so I average about $30-$50 per hour. Keep in mind this doesn't include set-up, clean-up, etc. People tend to tip really, really good when they get a deal, but there are always those who take it for granted and don't leave anything.

I don't know a lot about acupuncture other than all my clients who have tried it, swear by it. If you could add this to your "tool chest" I think it would be very helpful. A lot of chiros are even taking this up.

The nice thing about a chiropractor clinic is that it is a professional atmosphere and people are less likely to get the wrong idea about massage. I shared a room with a girl a while back who wore low cut tank tops and yoga pants to work in and then got upset when guys got the wrong idea!

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shannonstonecmt in Virginia Beach, Virginia

25 months ago

R.N. in Augusta, Georgia said: POOR Shannon!!! I feel for ya girl,seriously! I am looking into going to school to become a massage therapist and am also interested in Acupuncture. Out of curiosity, if you don't mind; Is the money pretty descent? I'm a struggling single mother who is going to school for this to provide a better life for me, and that of my child. I'll kick a pervs. a** if they ever try to pull that B.S. on me!!! Oh, and I will not do a massage if they don't pay 1st! I'm sorry u had to go through that hell!UGH!!!

I replied to you above but got cut off before I could finish. See response above...there are lots of pros for massage therapy and of course some cons. Feel free to email me shannonstonecmt@hotmail.com if you'd like to talk!

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Sarah in Alexandria, Virginia

23 months ago

It's not just Craigslist, I've had men come in off vouchers (KGB, Groupon, etc...) and they don't just do it to those of the opposite sex. In fact, the worst offenders have been men who are inappropriate to my male Therapists.

People can post negative, libelous reviews about your business and as a business you have virtually no recourse. You get told that unless you can prove that serious harm has come to the business, it is all just personal opinions and a he said/she said deal. However, as a business or Therapist, we can do nothing. Clients can be inappropriate, can skip out without paying or tipping, can lie about services (even say that you provided services you would NEVER do) and you can do nothing...

It's all very frustrating.

I think a Blacklist is a great idea. I think if Therapists should be able to submit their license, or Spa Owners submit business license to gain access and it would be restricted. It does not have to be a public access site, merely a "Yelp" for those in the industry trying to look out for one another. A closed network specifically for those in the industry. Perhaps if set up correctly it would work.

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