A Chicago woman has been sued for libel, all because she put up a negative review on Yelp, NBC Chicago is reporting.
“Still waiting on blinds ordered nearly 4 months ago that were supposed to take 3 to 6 weeks. My husband and I like to support small, family-run businesses when doing home improvement projects.”
The Yelp reviewer did eventually get her blinds delivered and installed, according to the lawsuit. Because the blinds were delivered, eventually, the company claims that the Yelp review is “[making] misrepresentations about the alleged non-delivery of the blinds,” and thus qualifies as libel under the law.
According to Legal Dictionary, libel is defined as “to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others.”
The Yelp reviewer provided a copy of the letter she received from the blind company’s attorney.
“In the event that your [Yelp] statement is not removed within five days from the date of this letter, my client intends to pursue all remedies available to him at law and equity. In addition, you must not publicly publish this event in the future.”
As of this post, it does appear that Katie M has changed her original Yelp review, as this screen shot taken today shows. In the new review, she concedes that she eventually received her blinds.
In the Internet Age, customer reviews, on Yelp or other, similar websites, can make or break a business. To that end, some companies have gone to rather extreme lengths to protect themselves from negative reviews. Some have tried lawsuits, others have tried more… creative methods. For example, according to this Inquisitr report, The Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England, fined a couple £100 (about $154 at current exchange rates) for posting a negative review on TripAdvisor.
As of this post, it’s unclear if Katie M’s changes to her Yelp review have satisfied the blinds retailer and will get her lawsuit withdrawn.