Feeds

Business sues for $750,000 over bad Yelp review

Novel form of corporate funding plan

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
RIP net neutrality? FCC boss mulls 'two-speed internet'
Financial fast track to replace level competitive playing field, report claims
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.