In a television appearance on the Dick Cavett Show inthe novelist Mary McCarthy was asked which writers she regarded as overrated. McCarthy singled out the playwright and memoirist Lillian Hellman as "a bad writer, a dishonest writer," and went on to say "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the. I'll come back to that question in a minute. There's no doubt that a scathing take-down of a book or movie or other work of art can provide a wicked source of pleasure to both the reviewer and her readers.
Berlik Yes, the First Amendment protects your right, as a consumer, to express your personal opinions about any business you ordered products or services from, no matter how unfavorable those opinions may be.
They worry about being sued for defamation. They read about aggressive businesses who bury non-disparagement clauses in form contracts and who file multi-million-dollar libel and slander claims in far-flung jurisdictions, based solely on a negative Yelp review.
So they keep their opinions to themselves, depriving the consuming public of the benefit of their experiences.
Unfortunately, if you rip into a shady business with a scathing and well-deserved online review, there is always a possibility that the business will sue you for defamation. These claims are often frivolous and filed only as an intimidation tactic, but they are a pain to deal with nonetheless.
Still, when a business deserves a one-star review, and has dealt with you in such a way that you feel an obligation to warn other consumers about the business, you can still write that scathing review with little risk of retaliation.
Here are five considerations to keep in mind as you write that review: But if you are careful to ensure that everything you say is relative in nature and expressed from your own personal standpoint, even the slimiest of unscrupulous business owners will be powerless to challenge you.
For example, suppose you find a fly in your soup. You go on Yelp and give the restaurant two stars, noting that you were particularly upset to find a fly in your soup. The unscrupulous business owner might respond to your post by claiming it was a raisin and taking you to court.
Those terms are relative in nature and not subject to empirical proof. So you are safe. Found a fly in your soup?
Take a picture of it before you call the waiter. Assume the business is dishonest and will call you a liar; prepare for the worst. You are far less likely to be sued for defamation if you can prove each and every factual statement in your review.
And pay special attention to how your post might get misconstrued. If the dentist who fitted your braces did a pretty good job but one brace had to be adjusted on a subsequent visit, that does not give you license to hurl a bunch of invective at him on Yelp if you later become upset about not being able to find a parking space at his establishment.
With the assistance of a skilled defamation lawyer, the dentist might be able to demonstrate in court that although you carefully phrased your review in words of opinion, you defamed him by misrepresenting your actual opinion of his skill as a dentist.
These cases are few are far between, but if staying out of court is more important to you than winning a libel case that might be brought against you, play it safe and express only your actual opinions about the business.
Many review sites incorporate terms of service that prohibit reviews written of establishments you never visited.
In terms of your litigation exposure, adherence to this guideline is advised for the same reasons as item 3: When you post an online review the argument would goyou are making an implied statement of fact that you dealt with that business and that your review is based on those dealings.
If that turns out to be false, and the falsity has sufficient sting to cause material harm to the reputation of the business, you could indeed find yourself on the losing end of a defamation action. The Constitution protects your right to speak anonymously, so take advantage of that right and conceal your identity.
Use a virtual private network. And use a fake name when writing the review, preferably an obviously fake name. If you follow steps above, your review should not be defamatory anyway, but why make it easy for the business to locate and sue you should they be of a mind to do so?She sued him in addition to writing a review.
"I lost a total of $ that I paid him to do the floors, $ to be exact and $2, to redo the floors. Now the judge wants me to pay a thousand. Dental customer Allison Dore posted a negative review of dental practice But it has now responded by suing her for £, damages plus costs The firm's actions have been condemned by business.
Oct 10, · You can be sued for anything, whether they win or not is a different matter. As long as what you write is honest and true then they can't win. The downside is if what you write may not be true and is your opinion over theirs, so you better be sure you are right.
Think twice before writing that negative vendor review. #Advice; #disappointment; #expectations; #industry insiders that would leave you open to being sued. This can also include allegations of racism or homophobic activity, because technically that is a crime under some statues (depending on how the lawyer would choose to prosecute.
After an online merchant fined a Utah couple $3, for writing a negative review and sparked a financial nightmare for more than a year, a public service lawyer has agreed to take the case and.
Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are designed to threaten you with expensive and time-intensive litigation to deter you from posting a negative review. By knowing your state’s laws, you can understand the parameters of what you legally can and can’t say in your review.