My question involves defamation in the state of: GA
I'm not sure if this is the correct forum to post this in. If it isn't, I apologize and would appreciate the post being moved to the correct one.
I recently had some work done at home and my experience with the contractor was very negative. As such, I left a negative review on a few websites including Yelp, Kudzu, and Google. I received a letter this morning from an attorney claiming my posts constitute defamation and demands that I "remove the posting and retract the statements regarding [the contractor]." It also states a demand "that you cease and desist from any further attempts to injure, defame, or interfere with the business of [the contractor]."
The reviews I posted consist of facts but based on research a few things I posted cannot be proved in a court of law and I don't want to take that risk. They also contain some opinions and feelings based claims including "he will rob you blind." With that said, though, I strongly feel that this contractor has positive reviews online by using this tactic against others and I truly feel that someone has to take a stand. Most people don't know better and are being overcharged and unnecessary work is being performed. Based on the letter I received I can truly see how he has only positive reviews online.
My questions are as follow.
1. If I edit my post and take out anything that cannot be proven in court but leave facts in (such as charges from his invoice to me) would that violate the "interfere with the business of" clause above and would this still constitute defamation?
2. In my reviews left for them can I mention the fact that I was contacted by the contractor's attorney and asked to remove my previous review because, allegedly, it constituted defamation?
Here's a quick structure of what I would like the new review to say.
"This is my experience with the contractor. Your experience may or may not be the same.
Called contractor, symptoms included xyz. I advised him that websites list cause1 as the cause.
01/01/13: Charged $250 for 'installation of xyz'. Item installed: (model number), cost as of 01/01/13 on homedepot.com: $50. Day's total invoice: $380
01/02/13: Charged $450 for 'xyz', $250 for 'xyz'.
01/03/13: Finally did a test for cause1 and fixed the cause.
01/04/13: Leak in pipes installed on 01/01/13 caused basement to be flooded and damaged items.
01/05/13: Negative reviews posted online.
01/15/13: Contacted by contractor's attorney stating review left on 01/05/13 constitutes defamation and must be retracted.
01/17/13: Reviews edited to remove opinions and to contain only facts that can be proved in a court of law."
Help will be truly appreciated.