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Suing for defamation

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Justaquestion2

New member
I own an online company with about 50 employees. An unhappy customer posted a comment on my Instagram page stating that my website’s “satisfaction guarantee” promise is a scam and then wrote about her experience. The details of her experience were true, but my company is not a scam. I immediately deleted her comment and processed her refund. Do I have a case to sue for slander? Would it be worth it if she does not continue to write comments?
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
I own an online company with about 50 employees. An unhappy customer posted a comment on my Instagram page stating that my website’s “satisfaction guarantee” promise is a scam and then wrote about her experience. The details of her experience were true, but my company is not a scam. I immediately deleted her comment and processed her refund. Do I have a case to sue for slander? Would it be worth it if she does not continue to write comments?
What state?
 

ALawyer

Senior Member
You're hurt, and I fully appreciate that. Yet as a lawyer I have to advise you lawsuits for defamation rarely go anywhere, and few if any competent lawyers would handle such cases -- particularly on a contingency basis. Based on the brief facts you set out, the person merely stated that your "satisfaction guarantee" was a scam. She didn't say you or your company were crooked. You acknowledged that the rest of her statements were true. And you quickly deleted the posting from your website and made a refund, so the matter is almost certainly over and done with. Why give it new life?

Were you to find her and file a lawsuit, you'd be necessarily repeating the allegations she made, and giving them far wider and more durable distribution. She's likely post it on other sites. And news media might pick it up. Thus folks who never saw the original posting would read about her claim, and some would think it's true and assume you're just trying to bully her. That's not a good thing.

While there are several "reputation management" firms that purport to be able to help you improve your firm's reputation, I have some doubts as to their effectiveness and cost structure, and if her posting is gone, there's nothing to manage by way of damage control.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
I own an online company with about 50 employees. An unhappy customer posted a comment on my Instagram page stating that my website’s “satisfaction guarantee” promise is a scam and then wrote about her experience. The details of her experience were true, but my company is not a scam. I immediately deleted her comment and processed her refund. Do I have a case to sue for slander? Would it be worth it if she does not continue to write comments?
You stated that the details of her experience were true. Therefore how could you claim slander? In fact, you turned around and processed her refund, therefore again, how could you claim slander? If you have a satisfaction guarantee, and she did not get that guarantee until she posted a commend on your instagram page then that backs up the accusation that your satisfaction guarantee was a scam. I am not saying that you intended it to be a scam, but you have to look at the impression that your company's actions create.

There will be times when a company's customers will demand things that are unreasonable or unjustified. There are times where a company will get a bad online review. You are justified in fighting against a bad review that is unreasonable or unjustified. You cannot be justified in trying to sue a customer for something that is true and actually did happen.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I own an online company with about 50 employees. An unhappy customer posted a comment on my Instagram page stating that my website’s “satisfaction guarantee” promise is a scam and then wrote about her experience. The details of her experience were true, but my company is not a scam. I immediately deleted her comment and processed her refund. Do I have a case to sue for slander? Would it be worth it if she does not continue to write comments?
What potentially saves your customer's "scam" comment from being defamatory is that she supported her comment with factual details about her experience. The scam label then became her opinion based on the facts of her personal experience rather than a statement of false fact. Other readers might read the facts of her experience and come away with a different opinion.

There is often a fine line between opinion and false fact and it appears your customer's comment falls safely on the right side of that line.

Your company was smart to refund the customer's money. That should stop any further complaints.

As a note: Defamation that is written is called libel. Oral defamation is called slander.
 
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