These days, anyone with a phone, tablet or computer can speak their minds about any company through an online review. Unfortunately, these reviews don’t always give the full story, especially in cases of a bad experience.
Reviewers can fabricate intentions, lie about the terms of an agreement or simply leave out the parts of a story that make the reviewer look bad. Because of this, it is generally best to take these reviews with a grain of salt. However, in some cases, a bad review might actually be grounds for legal action.
Under some circumstances, negative reviews can actually be quite harmful to a business. If a reviewer is highly visible or influential, his or her statements can carry a lot of weight in the minds of others. If the statements about a business are particularly egregious, it can gain much more attention than other reviews.
If this is something you have experienced as a California business owner, it may be wise to examine your legal options. You may have grounds to file a claim citing defamation or trade libel.
In order to file this type of claim, however, you must ensure certain elements are in place.
- The statement in question must be untrue.
- The statement was made to a third party.
- The statement caused you and/or your company to suffer monetary loss or injury.
If all three elements are in place, then filing a claim can be successful.
Before you do anything, though, understand that filing a legal claim is not necessary or appropriate in response to every bad review. In fact, it could ultimately hurt a business if an owner is spending more time seeking out and engaging with bad reviewers than working to create new good reviews.
In order to protect your business without losing the focus necessary to run it, you can consult an attorney familiar with business laws and litigation in California. Legal guidance can help you take the steps necessary to resolve disputes and achieve the goals you have for your business.