Feeds

Business sues for $750,000 over bad Yelp review

Novel form of corporate funding plan

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

An American woman is being sued for three quarters of a million dollars for giving a local building contractor a scathing write-up on crowd-sourced reviews sites Yelp and Angie's List.

Jane Perez, a retired captain in the armed services living in Virginia, wrote the bad reviews about Washington DC building contractor Dietz Development after receiving what she felt was poor service from the company. She complained of shoddy work, jewelry going missing, trespass by staff members, and for being invoiced for services she hadn't received.

Some companies send out customer service representatives in such a case, but contractor Christopher Dietz took the other route and sued her for $750,000, saying the review had hurt his business and was factually incorrect.

"The impact has been awful," Dietz told the Washington Post. "There is no one to protect businesses when people slam their name."

He claimed the bad reviews had already cost him $300,000 in lost business and taken a considerable toll on him personally. He also disputes any claim of criminal behavior, such as theft or trespass, and says that Perez still owes him for the work carried out on her home, as well.

A court has now granted a preliminary injection removing Perez's comments and stopping her from making any more publicly, and will hear the full case later. Under Virginia law it is a crime to falsely accuse someone of committing a criminal offense.

Legal proceedings against people for online reviews aren't new, but are certainly growing fast, Mark Goldowitz, founder of the Public Participation Project, told the Washington Post. The legal status of such comments is muddled at best, and legislators are playing catch-up.

"The suits can have a chilling effect on people's willingness to share information," Goldowitz said. "It does lead to people not posting reviews for fear of getting sued and to taking them down when threatened by a lawsuit."

That said, Perez can count herself lucky that Dietz has taken the legal route to register a complaint. Last month, a customer who gave a Canadian restaurant's jambalaya a poor review was subjected to an online hate campaign. For his part, Dietz should be forewarned not to take that tack should his lawsuit fail: the restaurant owner was sentenced to jail.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.