It is complicated, even impossible, to find a person who has never been a victim of bad service or poor quality product. What are your actions in this situation? There are lots of clients who prefer to keep silent just because they are afraid to get sued for leaving a bad review. However, the vast majority of customers are ready to take necessary actions to defend their rights.
The first step you need to take is to contact the representatives of the support group. According to the statistics, most disputes end at this point. Nonetheless, if you fail to find a reasonable solution that would satisfy both parties, the only effective solution is to leave a negative review, warning other clients of irresponsible sellers or providers.
At this point, it is indispensable to be ready for all the possible consequences, including the negative online review lawsuit. Are you impressed? Does it sound hilarious? Keep reading to find detailed information about various aspects of the question before you start worrying over all the comments you have ever left online.
Businesses may ignore their profiles or claim them for free. But Trustpilot has a premium option, too. And that’s where things get interesting for us, the clients. Paying companies have the right to report any review, which immediately disappears from their profile and stops affecting the rating. Say, if a business doesn’t like a 1-star post, it only takes a report to get rid of it. I’m guessing that’s how some companies keep a perfect track record with a rating of 5.0 stars, which seems impossible to me.
Are Reviewers Protected?
Leaving a negative review, you may not even suspect how many problems you will have the next day. “Can I be sued for a bad review?” The question may sound weird to some users, but its relevance keeps growing. An increasing number of customers who leave negative comments, mainly about big enterprises or other services, face real challenges.
Due to the growing number of similar cases, the government passed a law known as the Special Customer Review Fairness Act, the main goal of which is to protect the ability of customers to leave honest and unbiased feedback without further punishment.
According to the law, business companies will not be able to sue customers for their reviews. At the same time, if they dare to do so, clients can head to the FTC website or address the state’s attorney general to enforce the CRFA. This way, customers will not have to worry about the unbiased and up-to-date comments they leave. At the same time, if the company still tries to sue for a bad review, it will have to deal with a professional attorney.
Keep in mind that you are aware of all the specifications of the question, as it seems that the reviewers still have to fight for their right to leave reviews and feedback. Although this right seems protected by the law, you will have to undergo a long process proving it.
Defamation Lawsuit for a Bad Review
Leaving reviews about the quality of the provided services has become a trivial thing for most online customers. However, most of them cannot even imagine the possible cost of a single review that will be proved to be fake. Striving to stay protected and safe online, online buyers should know the difference between the most significant terms, including defamation and slander.
Defamation vs. Slander
Defamation is a false statement that causes damage to the reputation of a person or company. Claiming that the company is a scam without any reason, the customer should be ready for the possible outcomes. If the service occasionally loses its clients, it can sue the reviewer for defamation. At the same time, publicity plays a critical role here, as the customer is likely to pay damages over negative review left online so that it affects the reputation of the platform.
Slender, in turn, is a specific type of defamation that is relayed orally. In the overwhelming majority of instances, slender remains unpunished, as it is complicated to prove it.
Elements of Defamation
Taking legal action against bad reviews is not easy, as each statement requires corresponding proof. If the service or the company wants to sue you for defamation, it has to give reasonable explanations that will prove the following aspects:
- Harm caused by the defamatory statement
- The presentation of a false statement with the reasons to classify it accordingly
- The publication of a false statement by a third party
- Fault amounting to negligence
Additionally, it is indispensable to mention that the laws will depend on a state a lot, so you should be aware of the basic regulations and rules as you want to sue someone for defamation.
Defamation of Character
When it comes to defamation of character, it is critical to differentiate two types:
- Defamatory per se statements. This subtype of damage is evident, so it does not even require extra proof.
- Defamatory per quid statements. The accusing party must prove the damage caused by the defamation statement.
The Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA)
2016 has become the year when load headlines for companies suing customers because of the damage to over negative review ceased to exist. At that time, a new law called the Customer Review Fairness Act was accepted, protecting clients from reasonless punishments and intimidations. From that moment on, businesses cannot prevent customers from posting true comments about the quality of services and other issues they come across.
According to the Act, the companies cannot use a contract provision that imposes a fee against clients who leave reviews, requires them to renounce the intellectual property rights in the review or restricts the ability to leave real reviews.
Anti-SLAPP laws offer another way to protect customers from illegal prosecution. There are 29 states around the US that currently have these laws. In short, these are the statutes that help customers who are sued for fake reviews. Plaintiffs who lose the motion frequently have to pay penalties.
Facts You Need to Remember When Reviewing
Is there anything a trivial customer should do to eliminate the risk of being sued for the review? It is indispensable to be responsible working on the comment. Stick to the honest and unbiased opinion without mentioning any personal perspectives and opinions. Stay truthful describing the details of the experience you had with the online store. In fact, it is the best way to stay protected from any accusations.
Is It Illegal to Pay Someone to Leave Bad Reviews?
Absolutely. The person that leaves a review is responsible for the information provided in it. Therefore, paying people for leaving bad reviews can result in a defamation lawsuit that will cost you a considerable sum of money.
Can Customers Be Sued for Leaving a Bad Review?
Customers leaving negative reviews can be sued for defamation, especially if they comment on the services offered by the company publicly. However, it will take much time and effort to prove the accusations.
Can You Get Sued over a Negative Yelp Review?
Yes, no matter what service or platform you use for posting the review, there is a risk of being sued for defamation.
Can I Pay Influencers to Post Negative Reviews?
Striving to prevent problems, you should leave only unbiased and honest reviews about your personal experience using the service. This way, you will be 100% protected from any lawsuits and any accusations.