One of the online review sites in Australia has 4 very negative reviews about our company. We think these are all from the one disgruntled neighbour of a client (who we ended up in court with). They use words like "manipulate, take people's money", "dodgey", "abusive", "worst xxxx", "jekyl and hyde" etc. They are purporting to be a client of ours, and they are fabricating information in the course of these reviews These reviews appear second in the google rankings after our site and so are extremely prominent. They are causing us direct financial loss as when potential customers type our company name into Google they see these remarks. Questions:1. is there any defamation argument against the review site (we would really just like the negative reviews removed)?2. is there a potential claim against the review author (and we would need to require the review site to provide their details)?Thank you.
State or Territory: South AustraliaWhat have you tried so far?: We would like to send a letter to the webmaster of the review site requesting the defamatory reviews be removed. Hence why we are seeking a legal opinion on this matter.
1. Yes, but as a first step you should request the website immediately take down the reviews, and if they don't you should talk with their hosting company.2. Yes again, although usually you will need a Court order to obtain the person's ip address. And once you have that you should be able to identify the person responsible.Should you have any other questions, please let me know. If you're satisfied with the results of your question, then I'll ask you to please provide positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question.
Im looking for detail. I shouldnt have phrased these as yes/no questions - but I requested the highest level of detail for my reply.
Well, defamation is a tort, and the elements to the tort are someone making comments or posting written material (including on the internet) which causes someone else's (including a company) reputation to be damaged.There are defences to the tort, however, so if what they are saying in the reviews is true, then you will have a problem. But if they are posting falsehoods and doing so out of a malicious motive, then it is actionable.And as for the letter, you are best off having a solicitor send it because people take the threat of being sued much more seriously when they see it on a lawyer's letterhead. We are only a question and answer website and do not offer a drafting service where we can help you draft a letter.If you're satisfied with the results of your question, then I'll ask you to please provide positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question.
Sorry - Im not getting the detail Im after. I have a law degree so I understand the basic principles here. But what words, in particular, are defamatory?
Yes, the common law does hold that websites and other published sources such as newspapers are liable if defamatory material appears on them.As for what specific words are defamatory, that is usually what is in debate at trial. But the law states that if the statement would lower the reputation of the plaintiff in the eyes of a reasonable person, then it is defamatory. Keep in mind there is the defence of fair comment for defamation. To make out the defence there must be a fair comment or opinion reasonably based on fact on a matter of public interest. The comment will not be fair if based on untrue facts.If you're satisfied with the results of your question, then I'll ask you to please provide positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question.
I did my law degree at the University of Queensland
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