Negative reviews are an unfortunate part of doing business online. They happen to almost all companies and products. These reviews can be highly damaging to a company’s reputation. Products that even get a few negative reviews may be very difficult to sell.
Business owners often believe that negative reviews are unfair to them because they have the potential to significantly harm their reputation and standing among people who may have never even tried their products or services. In some cases, negative reviews can actually be classified as defamation. But that’s not to say that every negative review is going to qualify as defamation. What is it that turns a simple negative review into a defamation case?
The review is not based in fact
Factual inaccuracy is the key component to look for in a situation like this. If the review has been purposely posted with inaccuracies that are not backed up by any facts about that product or service, then your business never deserved to suffer that impact to its reputation. That’s when the issue of defamation can come into play. The review may be costing you money and lowering your standing in the community. If it’s based on lies, you may be able to take legal action.
For example, perhaps you make clothing from sustainable products. If someone buys one of your products and simply says that they don’t like the way that it fits or the way that the material feels, that can certainly turn off other buyers. But it is not defamation, because the person is just expressing their opinion about the product.
On the other hand, if they write a review saying that your products are actually not made from sustainable materials, that could be defamation. You know who your suppliers are. You have solid proof of the sustainability of your products. The factual inaccuracies stated in that review may be harming your reputation, especially with your target audience.
Situations like this can be very frustrating for business owners who are being held back by forces outside of their control. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly what legal steps you can take in the event that a defamatory review starts to affect your company’s place in the market.