Negative Reviews on Yelp Hurting Your Business? Consult a Business Litigation Attorney About Possible Defamation or False Advertising Claims
Nowadays most businesses, small and large alike, depend on their “on-line” presence to bring in customers. These businesses take active steps to increase their presence on the worldwide web, using various techniques to win the race to the top of the search results on various search engines.
At the same time, there are numerous “Consumer Review” websites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Angies’ List, Yellowpages.com, etc., which allow members of the public to post their personal review of businesses they have patronized, based on their real life consumer experience, to help people find and compare businesses providing the goods and services they want. At least that is how it works in theory.
Reviews can significantly boost revenue for a business when they are plentiful and favorable. At the same time, negative reviews can lead to the demise of a small business. Most of these Consumer Review websites have policies and procedures designed to prevent or at least redress the damage caused by negative reviews, whether they are true or false, fair or unfair. Using those procedures, which usually include the opportunity for a business to “respond” to a negative review, sometimes the damage can be mitigated. As our San Diego business litigation lawyers tell our clients, It is always advisable, when responding to negative reviews, to be polite and professional, no matter how ill-mannered the negative review might have been, and simply address facts. A reasonable and fact-specific response can go a long way in preventing a loss of revenue from an unreasonable customer.
In some instances, however, such as when an individual, or possibly a competitor or cohort in conspiracy with a competitor, makes false statements of fact that harm your business’s reputation no matter how you might respond, stronger steps including litigation may be warranted. As our experienced San Diego business litigation lawyers will attest, such false and damaging statements can constitute “defamation” and support a lawsuit to recover damages. If you have evidence to show that the false statements were made by a competitor for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage, you may also be able to prevail in suing for “false advertising” under California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq.
If you believe your business is being intentionally damaged by false statements of fact in online Consumer Review websites, or elsewhere, an experienced and dedicated San Diego business litigation lawyer may be able to help you take legal action. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your situation.