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  1. #1
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    Default What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    My question involves defamation in the state of: TX

    I am a small business owner.
    18 months ago a client had (in his opinion) a negative experience with my business. He proceeded to post multiple negative reviews about my business on several different websites. Although they were malicious, I would still consider them protected because they were his opinion. I was successful at getting a few of these reviews removed from their respective websites. I reached out to the individual once to offer a refund of their charges in exchange for removing his reviews, and he refused.
    I have had no further business dealings with this client since the first and only encounter.
    This previous month (over 1 year has past), the same client posted a new round of reviews that were even more negative and malicious than the originals. The exaggerated negative comments actually contradict the comments made in the previous year's reviews:
    - the first review said I answered most of his questions, new review said I ignored him and didnt answer any questions (I have screen shots of all reviews)
    - first review said that I contact him once asking to remove the review, new review said that I contacted him multiple times asking to remove the review (I only contact him once and have records to prove this)
    Looking at his list of Yelp reviews, there are multiple 1 star reviews using malicious and inflammatory words to smear the business' reputations. In several reviews, the owners have responded to dispute the details of the review. For example, in one instance the person claimed to have waited many hours, and the business has a time stamp of checking in and leaving after 45 minutes. This shows a pattern of behavior and may support my claim that the person lies in their reviews.
    SO, my question is whether the discrepancies between the old and new reviews on my business would provide adequate proof that this client made false statements in their review. I don't know how to get rid of this person, and am hoping that the threat of a lawsuit would deter any future online disparaging of my business.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Sorry, but there is no way anybody can give you an opinion without reading the exact and actual reviews in their entirety. If you can't or won't provide a link to them, all I can suggest is that you consult a defamation attorney and review your options.

    I refer to Yelp (and others) all the time for reviews and I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to businesses with a very small percentage of negative reviews and typically ignore the rants. No matter what product or business I look up there is almost always a small percentage of unhappy customers. Rarely do I see anything with all positive reviews across the board. I think the public understands that, too. Hope so anyway.

    I suggest you respond to the review with facts, bringing up the discrepancies between the two, and then move on. Rely on having a majority of good reviews.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting Lady209
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    My question involves defamation in the state of: TX

    I am a small business owner.
    18 months ago a client had (in his opinion) a negative experience with my business. He proceeded to post multiple negative reviews about my business on several different websites. Although they were malicious, I would still consider them protected because they were his opinion. I was successful at getting a few of these reviews removed from their respective websites. I reached out to the individual once to offer a refund of their charges in exchange for removing his reviews, and he refused.
    I have had no further business dealings with this client since the first and only encounter.
    This previous month (over 1 year has past), the same client posted a new round of reviews that were even more negative and malicious than the originals. The exaggerated negative comments actually contradict the comments made in the previous year's reviews:
    - the first review said I answered most of his questions, new review said I ignored him and didnt answer any questions (I have screen shots of all reviews)
    - first review said that I contact him once asking to remove the review, new review said that I contacted him multiple times asking to remove the review (I only contact him once and have records to prove this)
    Looking at his list of Yelp reviews, there are multiple 1 star reviews using malicious and inflammatory words to smear the business' reputations. In several reviews, the owners have responded to dispute the details of the review. For example, in one instance the person claimed to have waited many hours, and the business has a time stamp of checking in and leaving after 45 minutes. This shows a pattern of behavior and may support my claim that the person lies in their reviews.
    SO, my question is whether the discrepancies between the old and new reviews on my business would provide adequate proof that this client made false statements in their review. I don't know how to get rid of this person, and am hoping that the threat of a lawsuit would deter any future online disparaging of my business.
    I can almost guarantee that he has been threatened with lawsuits before if he is a serial, malicious negative reviewer. Probably no one else has followed through on the threats so he isn't scared. Therefore, don't threaten a lawsuit unless you intend to go through with it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Sorry, but there is no way anybody can give you an opinion without reading the exact and actual reviews in their entirety. If you can't or won't provide a link to them, all I can suggest is that you consult a defamation attorney and review your options.
    I wont post the review in their entirety to protect my identity, but here are the excerpts that show that the new review, posted a year later, contains false statements to disparage my business in a more damaging way-

    OLD-
    "she answered most of my questions"
    NEW
    "she didn't answer my questions"

    OLD-
    "she contacted me and offered a refund to remove my review and I refused"
    NEW-
    "she contacted me multiple times requesting for me to remove the review. She then offered to give me a refund to take down the review, and I refused."

    I am in the service industry and a one star review brings down my average enough that I am concerned that I will lose business. Also, this person has already posted additional negative reviews a year after our interaction, so I am concerned that they will continue to disparage my business in the future.

    So, assuming the old statements were the factual account of the interaction, are the new statements different enough from the old statements to be considered “false statements”. I am not looking for advice about what I should do, just a simple opinion from an expert about this one question.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    In neither case are the two posts mutually exclusive?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    In neither case are the two posts mutually exclusive?
    Not sure if I understand the question...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting Lady209
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    just a simple opinion from an expert about this one question.
    As far as I know there are no defamation experts that participate here so if you want one you'll have to go pay one.

    Meantime, my two cents worth, I don't see a successful lawsuit happening for a couple of bad reviews. You're reading way too much into the semantics.

    Quote Quoting Lady209
    View Post
    I wont post the review in their entirety to protect my identity, but here are the excerpts that show that the new review, posted a year later, contains false statements to disparage my business in a more damaging way-

    OLD-
    "she answered most of my questions"
    NEW
    "she didn't answer my questions"

    OLD-
    "she contacted me and offered a refund to remove my review and I refused"
    NEW-
    "she contacted me multiple times requesting for me to remove the review. She then offered to give me a refund to take down the review, and I refused."
    Sorry, but none of the statements, new or old, are false. Depends on how you read them.

    OLD-
    "she answered most of my questions"

    Some questions were left unanswered.

    NEW
    "she didn't answer my questions"

    Referring to the unanswered questions.

    Ergo, both statements are true.

    OLD-
    "she contacted me"

    Doesn't say how many times.

    "and offered a refund to remove my review and I refused"

    You did both. You contacted and you offered a refund.

    NEW-
    "she contacted me multiple times requesting for me to remove the review."

    Again, you contacted. The number of times is irrelevant.

    "She then offered to give me a refund to take down the review, and I refused."

    Again, you offered a refund.


    I think you are just wishing that you have something to grab onto that would result in getting awarded money if you sued the guy. Nope, I don't see anything for you to grab on to. But, then, I'm no expert.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    I think you are just wishing that you have something to grab onto that would result in getting awarded money if you sued the guy. Nope, I don't see anything for you to grab on to. But, then, I'm no expert.
    Thanks for the analysis, that makes sense.

    And no, I do not care at all about the money. I really just want to make him remove his review and keep this person from ever disparaging my business again. If I can make his life miserable for even a short amount of time, too, it would bring me great satisfaction.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting Lady209
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    And no, I do not care at all about the money. I really just want to make him remove his review and keep this person from ever disparaging my business again. If I can make his life miserable for even a short amount of time, too, it would bring me great satisfaction.
    Money is the way we punish people for civil wrongs. If you don't care about the money, you don't get any satisfaction. Either respond to his reviews with facts, like others, or don't and ignore him and move on.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What Constitutes a False Statement in Defamation / Disparagement

    Quote Quoting Lady209
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    Not sure if I understand the question...
    That's because it wasn't a question. Auto correct added a ? instead of a .

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