Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
So, she essentially threatened to publicly denounce your practice if you don't give them a total refund, correct?
a refund for purchases and services outside our practice
OK. Let me look a few things up. I'll be right back with you.
This is not considered extortion or blackmail, and, unfortunately, not something that will form the basis of a fruitful lawsuit.
why would it not be blackmail?
she is demanding money be given to her for services and materials not purchased at our office, or will go public
Under federal law, blackmail involves refranining from reporting a a person has committed a crime in exchange for money or a thing of value.
The statute can be seen below:
Sec. 873. Blackmail -STATUTE- Whoever, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States, demands or receives any money or other valuable thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Blackmail is a common method of extortion. Blackmail is extortion by threatening another person's or organization's reputation with the disclosure of information that would be damaging to that party if released. This incriminating information may be true or false. The actual disclosure of this information does not have to be criminal, nor does the offender have to actually receive money, property, or other benefits for the act to be considered extortion. The act is extortion because the individual demands money, property, or other considerations in exchange for non-disclosure of this information.
If they were threatening to spread false rumors, you would have a good civil case. Or, if they were threatening to do physical harm, you would have a good criminal case, but a customer threatening to loudly complain because they didn't get the service they wanted is not against the law.
That's from wikipedia, correct?
criminal law lawyer source
you are aware she is demanding money from my practice for services and materials gotten elsewhere..
the only thing she paid for at my practice was $65 for an eye exam
As you can see above, section 873 of title 18 United States Code defines what federal law considers blackmail.
I understand that, but she is claiming that she incurred other costs because of the wrong prescription.
Your best recourse would be to engage them in a civil lawsuit if they do publicly slander you.
The way to keep them from following through on their threat is, more or less, a threat of your own.
that is why I thought letting her know in a friendly way she is black mailing me would put an end to this
I thought it would have more bite than letting her know that she is bordering on lible with the things she said pertaining to my professionalism
Your course of action really depends on exactly what she says.
If what she says is in any way factually incorrect, you have a case for libel or slander (depending on how she spreads her message).
You would likely have a claim for tortuous interference.
all patients who have a problem with their prescriptions are sent back to their examining dr for a recheck....she chose to go to another dr. and purchase glasses elsewhere. Most places do a no charge courtesy remake on a dr change. So I find her claims ridiculous.
I guess as a backdoor question, does she have any bite to her claim for reimbursement for an exam an materials purchased elsewhere?
I was pondering faxing her a rebuttle to her accusations etc...but then I think the best thing may be to just file her away?
She may have a legitimate claim for some of her expenses.
if she calls respond with we have read your e-mails and have nothing further to say???
Not sure if youi wear glasses, but there is no such thing as a wrong prescription....It can be written down wrong etc...but a final rx is documented and her vision was documented at 20/20 with rx.
as I said there are so many reasons why an rx can change , even in a day
It depends. If you think she is bluffing, that would be a proper response.
I do wear glasses. She likely has a very difficult lawsuit to win. However, if she did, she would be entitled to damages more than just the $65.
well I'm not too worried about her social networking etc...threat or threat to write board, I will just explain my side of things....and she never threatened legal action......
If you think she's serious about her threats, you could threaten to sue for interference with business relationships or tortuous interference.
That is just one of the downsides to living with social media.
While the good things people say is amplified, so are the negative things.
never heard of them before??haha
but they sound good
Essentially, both make it a crime to intentionally interfere with the business prospects of another person.
almost done, would you go the ignore route or the threaten with those two you mentioned? I'm thinking as long as she doesn't threaten legal action, which would cost more than her recovery, then I don't want her to get any more gas on her fire
It is more complicated that that, and is not easy to prove, but it is a legitimate threat.
It is actually one of the more difficult torts to prove.
But, it is something you can use to make the situation go away.
so just threaten with the interference with bus relation. .....alone
a rebuttal letter with threat
or ignore customer?
not bring in the blackmail because no bite?
If you think she's going to follow through, threaten with tortuous interference with a bus relationship. If you don't, then ignore her.
Either way, I'd offer her something, even if it is just refunding the $65.
we did that....she wants it all....basically she wants me to pay for her second exam, glasses and contacts.....
This is my plan then, listening to your advice:
I'd call her bluff. I'm sure she's gotten her way with threats in the past and just keeps trying to "bully" people.
Can I help you with anything else?
Have my manager call and offer her the $65.00 refund (which I have never done in 20yrs) If she refuses and continues with threats, write a rebuttal letter with tort threat....sound ok?
Yes, that is a good plan. I think she'll take the $65 and be on her way. She doesn't get anything about publicly denigrating you and your practice.
She doesn't get anything *by* publicly denigrating you and your practice.
thank you, XXXXX XXXXX been very helpful, good night
Glad to help.
If I've answered your questions, please click the ACCEPT button. Good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).