Can You Sue for a Negative Online Review?

Yee Law Group Inc. > Can You Sue for a Negative Online Review?

If you own a business, you know how difficult it is to safeguard your reputation online. Just one bad review can hurt your business. The internet makes it possible for a single person to reach millions of others with a few clicks of a mouse.

Because consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices for information about businesses and products, it is more important than ever for business owners to keep track of how they are assessed online. According to new research, 60 percent of consumers rely on internet reviews accessed exclusively on mobile devices to make a buying decision. Clearly, business owners can’t afford to ignore the internet.

But what happens when someone leaves a negative review online? The relative anonymity of the internet makes people believe they can post bad reviews with little or no consequences. Does a business owner have any options? What if the review is exaggerated or just plain untrue?

Lawsuits for Bad Reviews on the Rise

According to a Forbes report, lawsuits stemming from bad online reviews have increased. In Virginia, a construction company recently filed a defamation case against a former customer who left bad reviews. According to the company’s owner, the reviews have cost his business $750,000 in damages, including $300,000 in lost work opportunities.

In another case, a husband and wife in Texas won a $13.8 million lawsuit against anonymous forum posters who falsely accused them of sexual assault and drug dealing. The couple was forced to shut down a thriving day spa business and legal practice and relocate after the commenters destroyed their business opportunities in their community.
Although these types of cases are growing, they are nevertheless usually difficult to prove. In many cases, the issues boil down to a he said-she said dispute, which can pose many challenges for the plaintiff/business owner. Furthermore, an individual has a right to make statements as long as they are true. When it comes to online reviews based on opinion, it can be difficult to distinguish exaggeration from misrepresentation.

On the other hand, defamation can be extremely costly for a business owner, as the cases above demonstrate. If a customer is deliberately attempting to destroy a company’s reputation, it may very well be worth pursuing a lawsuit. In these cases, it is very important to work closely with a business attorney who can help you explore the potential costs and benefits of pursuing litigation.

Roseville, California Business Lawyers

Do you want to know more about protecting your business and achieving your goals? Our attorneys are here to help. Call Yee Law Group Inc., PC today at (916) 599-7297 to speak to an experienced business lawyer about your needs and goals.

This website has been prepared by Yee Law Group Inc., PC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.