Back in August 2010, Google began allowing business owners to reply to reviews placed in their Google Place pages by customers and others.
The issue is, there are dozens of reports that business owners cannot reply to these reviews.
A Google Places Help thread has business owners complaining about the process not working since September 2010. Google said they fixed the issues but ultimately it has not been fixed.
Last week, Cecelia from Google responded to the thread saying:
As a quick update, I've shared all of your reports with our team as examples of the issue. We're looking into this and working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
As you can see, it is still not resolved and many business owners have no recourse with negative reviews.
Forum discussion at Google Places Help.