I received a post on a public forum regarding my company. The post was made by a disgruntled customer that I have been having trouble with and included a statement about an ex-subcontractor that had called her to get help in an attempt to sue me. She posted; Note: I also rec’d a call from one of Jimmy’s workers asking me to write him a reference because he was taking Jimmy to court for firing him and not paying him for work done. This man also suggested that something was wrong with the reviews on Angie’s List, since he had personally witnessed Jimmy’s problems with other customers, but no negative reviews had been posted. This statement is completely without merit and I am curious if there is any legal course of action I may take
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
I have tried to resolve the issue through email with the customer and have all the emails. I have also tried to get Angie's List (where the post is currently being displayed) to remove the posts since it is blatantly untrue and cannot be proven with no success
Hello and welcome,Are the comments interfering with your business?
I have had some customers ask me about the comment and although I cannot be certain, the amount of growth I was experiencing has dropped off. The problem is, I can't tell because if a customer just doesn't want to use my company based on that review, they just don't contact me. The customers that have asked about it have had reservations regarding hiring me because of it though.
I see.If you can prove the statements are false, you could pursue a claim of Defamation against the customer and also seek to have the post removed.Here is a link that sets out the elements of defamation:http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/texas-defamation-lawIn many cases, it is not necessary to file suit where there are not substantial damages that can be proven. Instead, a strongly worded letter or other communication from a local business law attorney to the customer is often enough to motivate them to resolve the matter if they wish to avoid a lawsuit.I would contact the state bar association for attorney referrals. It should not cost more than a few hours of time and could save your business.Here is a link to the state bar:http://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Lawyer_Referral_Service_LRIS_
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Thank you for your reply, I do have further questions regarding this. what would constitute proof? it is difficult to prove something that isn't there when it isn't there... kind of like asking someone to prove a vacuum is empty just by looking at it. There was never a time when this tech had seen any problems as there were never any problems for him to see and I don't even know for sure that she isn't just making things up since I am no longer in contact with the disgruntled tech.
Yes, damages would be difficult to prove in this case so it would be best to settle the matter without Litigation typically. Proof would typically involve Testimony of a potential customer or a former customer indicating that the post prevented them from doing business with you.This is a matter that should be settled without filing a lawsuit unless the individual does not care whether they are sued and is completely unreasonable for an attorney to deal with.
thank you again, Last question, I promise... is it at all possible to hold angie's list responsible for publishing a libelous statement such as this? I would be thrilled to just have it removed and the customer is NOT at all reasonable, I have been trying to work with her for more than a year regarding this and nothing seems to help. Could I just use the fact that her statement is from a third party and can't be proven by her as grounds to have it removed?
Angie's List would typically have a disclaimer and not be held liable for false statements posted by others.If negotiations by an attorney are not fruitful, then it would normally require a court order to have the post removed.
JD, BBA Over 20 years legal and business experience.
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