When leaving a negative review can get you sued

By Julio Franco ยท 21 replies
Jun 26, 2014
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  1. Some companies have threatened lawsuits against people who left bad reviews online. Writing a bad review is a powerful form of catharsis. You spent money on a good or service and had a negative experience, so you do the only thing...

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    john5874 likes this.
  2. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,336   +843

    If they can sue people for bad reviews then we should sue companies for making a bad product.
  3. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    LMAO exactly!

    BTW, the title should probably read: "Leaving a negative review can get you sued". Just a little tweak, but as it currently stands, it sounds odd.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. Your comment is bad, can I sue you?
  5. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 269   +111

    I think they're trying to be "trendy" with the titles, like when they abuse the format "(Name) is a (thing) that (does something or the other)".
  6. Firstly. F off to all companies out there thinking they have the right to sue over someones freaking opinion and voicing it.
    As said, don't make a bad product, or try to fix the problem you have with your customer and make it all peachy.

    As said we should be able to sue companies then if they make crap and expect us to put up n shut up. And anyone company found putting false reviews or paying others to do so, should be sued, and money from that should go back to customers who bought from them.
  7. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,665   +1,949

    The review system is lame. They shouldn't publish below-average reviews when there are too few of them.

    Say, you got 10 reviews in, then publish all of them. Otherwise, a good product may receive the first review being very negative and thus leave no-one wanting to try the product, which can be very damaging to the company.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
    H3llion likes this.
  8. Working at a online company, the problem is telling the truth... Many times, most of the time in fact (from what we've seen) when some threats the bad review threat (and does, or doesn't do it), its little to do with bad service and more about demanding things either not part of the sale, or something extra not promised beyond normal.

    Our last threat (and we caved, as we normally do) ended up in us giving a customer a 2nd one step up product for free as they demanded with next day air shipping since they claimed the product (one step down) was defective - end result for us was we gave a one time buy customer a $600.00+ (cost) product, they refused to return the model down they said was defective, and, they posted nasty review(s) stating would not honor warranty, would not take their phone call, etc...

    My mind has changed over the years on this topic to a point of post your bad comment fine, however, man up, own it, if its really true, what's the issue with putting your name with it? Perhaps its not public per say, but there in a way the vender(s) can see so as to try to make things right - After all, like our company as Manufacturer Reps, we want every customer happy at nearly all cost, because its just the right way to treat people and so responsible business in our opinion.
    spectrenad and H3llion like this.
  9. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,147   +915

    I think what annoys me is bad reviews from dumb users, examples:

    - I bought this case and it is amazing however, I bought the wrong sized power supply for it and the one I got doesn't fit, I hate this case 1/10

    - I bought this graphics card (290x) hoping to play my games in the best quality currently available, instead my power supply blew up and now I'm left with nothing 1/10

    - This CPU cooler is incredibly loud, I've plugged it in and the fan seems to go to full speed and stay there, I cannot recommend this CPU Cooler 1/10

    & this one below was one of my favorite bad reviews I've read:

    - I bought this HDMI cable to replace my current one as it was breaking, unfortunately the cable isn't long enough to reach, I know it says 1.2 meters (when I measured it from HDMI tip to the other end it was dead on 1.2m) but I'm afraid I will not be able to recommend this product as it doesn't fit with what I need it for.

    These are genuine reviews I've read, these are the kind of reviews I agree can be deleted, no law suite, just outright deleted as they are just stupid.

    Joke reviews actually attract people to a product, hell I think Techspot even did an article linking to a few I very much enjoyed.

    No one should ever get sued though for leaving a review online. That's just not right, If these companies wanted to change those reviews, how about contacting the person, try to fix whatever was wrong and discuss possibly changing the review to reflect the great service they got even though the product was bad/wasn't for them?
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    I've never had an issue with reviewing items online. Be honest and critical (I.e. "XYZ was good/bad for ABC reason" and not "OMG I WAS LIKE TOTALLY RIPPED OFF!!!!!") and things should be just fine.

    If a company has the audacity to tell you to remove an honest review, however, I strongly recommend turning the tables on them as this fellow did on Reddit. As I always advise, if your opponent doesn't want to play by the rules, there's no reason you shouldn't best them at their own game.
    Darkshadoe likes this.
  11. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 576   +185

    Well you can sue companies for bad products, either false advertising or not upholding warranty agreements (people do that for cars a lot I hear). I have had a company threaten to sue me for a bad review (was a Chinese company ironically) they sent me a terrible fan controller surged and almost fried every fan in that computer (over $200 worth of fans) and the PSU never acted the same afterwards. Left the first and only negative review only because trying to call there customer service and contact them took me 4 days and I finally got someone who told me to make sure my computer was plugged in. I got a email form them a week later after the review form there law office, sent him back a letter from my lawyer(my aunt :) asking for the court date when they had it, never heard back, that was 2 years ago.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    As long as the company is willing to work with me to correct an issue, I will never post a negative review. I don't mind a little inconvenience, but I will not stand for being crapped on. I often purchase cheap and when the product fails, I consider it my fault for trying to save a buck. Even though I hate corporate for manufacturing faulty products, they didn't twist my arm in buying cheap. It is my own fault for thinking I can get by for less.

    I'm almost willing to bet this reviewer being sued, was given an opportunity for correction from the company. But in their anger opted to keep their anger and negative review, instead of doing what was right. I honestly don't see a company willing to take a risk on a bad review by not trying to make things right. I do however see an angry person not giving them the chance to make things right.
  13. Your brief summary explaining the Virgina lawsuit was not entirely correct. The issue at hand was the carpet company believed that many of the negative reviews were not made by customers who actually received service. That was the basis of the lawsuit.

    I don't agree with the lawsuit for negative reviews, I just feel that if reporting a story you should ge the facts straight.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    I agree stupid reviews should just be removed.. but then again a lot of sites allow users to rate reviews on their usefulness and that tends to be kind of accurate. I always post honest reviews, and unfortunately there can be some negative points but there are always good points too. In most cases if you are smart about it, and aren't a complete jerk, you can get the company to work with you to make it right.

    Unfortunately so many products don't go through sufficient testing. Everyone is just trying to shove new products out the door as fast as possible that its rare that anyone actually tries to make a solid product anymore.

    Now if someone is out there posting tons of negative reviews on one product or company, with some or much of it being lies... should they be sued? Maybe, if they are lying just to hurt a company that isn't right. But if they just post one review and are so pissed off that it upsets the company. Well that's too bad.
  15. If a company write a good review as a custumer of their own product the company should be shut down, the only problem is we would return to stone age.

    I really can't count how many times I have bought horrible products based on great users reviews. They just don't work anymore thank to the companies, even the ones writed in "good" sites.
  16. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    I can understand why some companies can get upset over this, with people making threats to companies by making false claims in exchange for free stuff then you look at something like this as being justified. That being said, when a company makes a bad product and then gets upset that we were not satisfied with it, that is their fault.

    I think the best ones are the people saying they will write a bad review if they do not get a free dinner/trip. I mean how stupid can you be, as soon as you try to claim it they can sue you for blackmail because they know who you are now. Seems like that would be the dumb thing to do.

    This is society today guys...
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    I would like to think everyone here at TS has better morals than that though. Off hand I can't think of anyone that doesn't seem to have good morals where this topic is concerned. Which is probably a big reason, in why I like spending so much time here. A good community of which someone always recognizes the lies posted.
  18. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +243

    I don't have a facebook account but can I sue facebook for any dislike I may have in the future? :)
  19. I think the best is when company replies to the review. It works great for me - shows their support is alert and active, and often makes reviewers look ridiculous - they complain for lack of answer, and here it is. Even if it's just "please contact our service and we will help you". You can find such review replies on newegg and some other site. It's better than suing or censoring.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. Fbarnett

    Fbarnett TS Booster Posts: 210   +30

    The Problem here is that 9 out of 10 people that leave a review is to stupid to tie their own shoes. There are a lot of people that think they know something but don't. I travel into 2 different states just to hit a input or power button on a remote. Of course the customer will tell me what a POS the unit is. Why sould this customer be able to say anything. They never say dang I am a *****
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

    A few of the suppliers on Newegg, have chosen to confront negative reviews in a more cordial manner. Most notably GSkill.

    "We're sorry you had a negative experience with our product. Please call XXX-555- yaddayadda to speak with one of our customer service representatives".

    I too think many reviewers overstate their issues for the hope of greater gain. America, after all, is likely the most litigious nation on the planet.

    With that being said, there are a couple of things I really should have heeded other customer's warnings before buying.

    In any case, you are always served best by reviewing the reviewer first, then making a decision as to his or her veracity, and/or mental state. Some people write bad reviews to prop up their own egos, others write good reviews in lieu of admitting they made a mistake on a purchase.
    OK, as much as I'm going to enjoy doing a grammar nazi-ing on this sentence, trust me, it needs it.

    "A plural subject requires a plural verb ". "9 out of 10 people", is a plural subject. "Is", is a 3rd person singular verb. "Are" would be the correct choice of verb. "9 out of 10 people are too stupid.

    The moral here is, I'm good with you calling certain people stupid, but I'm vehemently against allowing you to do it, while sounding stupid in the process.

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  22. Axle Grease

    Axle Grease TS Booster Posts: 103   +37

    Unless the blackmail attempt was recorded or exists in written form then the business cannot sue the blackmailer.
  23. redrex

    redrex TS Rookie

    Consider this, you sell a product where you live and die based off of reviews. What do you do when someone does lie in a review? Some of you say that we should never be able to sue someone for a review but I doubt you have put a whole lot of thought into that statement, much less tried putting yourself in the other guys shoes. Would it be ok for you if your boss flat out lied in your performance review? Would it be ok for a teacher to give you an F when you really earned an A?

    Case in point, I sell a product that pretty much lives or dies based on reviews. My products have overwhelmingly positive reviews but every so often I get a bad one. In one such review this guy stated something about the product that was simply not true and they were instead trying use the review process as a social/political soap box. I made the mistake of responding to them and pointing out that if you don't like the product that's fine but don't make stuff up. The next thing I know the reviewer is editing their previous comments to hide what they said and then they changed the whole post into an attack full of purposely false claims. THEN they went to their own blog and posted other libelous comments. But didn't stop there, they then went to some other message boards and did the same. And then they tweeted it. Why? Because he was trying to recruit other people to also post negative reviews! How do I know this? Because he actually said it! The guy was PO'd that I called him out so he wanted to retaliate and hurt my business.

    Now you may try to write off my case but you know full well that this sort of thing does happen. Someone gets a bug up their backside and decides to flat out lie about a product or company in an effort to "teach them a lesson". Or what about the competitor who recruits people to post fake reviews. Is this not specifically the point of libel laws?

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