BUSINESS reputation is important and can be quickly damaged with financial losses possible if online review platforms provide negative feedback. In some cases, if the feedback is unfair and misleading, a legal challenge is possible. If a call to the client or customer fails, and you cannot deal with it personally and amicably, then a specialist solicitor is often needed. Asa Cocker, a Chartered Legal Executive at Pearson Solicitors, looks at the implications.
An angry review against a company resulted in a successful £25,000 damages claim by the company against the reviewer when it was found that his misleading negative review affected business.
In the case in question, the claim was that the business was affected and a ‘substantial’ number of clients did not use the firm as it was believed they were put off by a negative review on Trustpilot. In this case an unhappy client said the law firm, with several offices in the south of England, had been ‘a total waste of money another scam solicitor’.
The firm issued libel proceedings in respect of general damages, special damages and sought an order to have the defamatory review taken down from Trustpilot.
The law firm argued that the client did not explain his issues to the firm or use their grievance procedure. In his summary judgment, Master David Cook ruled: ‘There is supportive evidence that the number of inquiries fell dramatically after the review was posted. Given the manner in which the claimant conducts its business, I conclude that a substantial number of potential clients were put off.’
The matter did not proceed to full trial and the ‘client’ had to pay damages, costs and the review removed.
Online reviews, whether Google, Feefo, Trustpilot, Trip Advisor, or even Yelp, all contribute to business success, but as in this case the odd rogue review can lead to reputational damage.
As more and more of our lives operate online companies can succeed or fail on the basis of online reputation. However as business owners how can you tackle a misleading and potentially destructive review left online for all potential customers to see?
Managing business reputation and acting quickly in cases of defamation has never been more important. As Winston Churchill once said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
And that was long before the ubiquitous smartphone and a world of online platforms.
Research suggests that more than 85 per cent of purchasers research the internet for reviews and feedback before making a purchase and 70 per cent of potential customers will not make an inquiry if they read negative mentions of a brand or company.
Pearsons Solicitors specialists are able to advise in relation to any misleading or defamatory statement which has been published and help avoid risk to your business. We can assist with the effective removal of the statement and protect your reputation.
For information on how to deal with a misleading online review or any aspects of business reputation call our Litigation Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email email@example.com.