Can Business Owners Sue Over Yelp Posts?
Yelp is one of the most popular online places for people to provide reviews and comments about local companies. Potential customers or clients often refer to Yelp before making a purchase or choosing a restaurant or business. One of the pitfalls of Yelp for business owners is that they have no control over what is posted online. Sometimes the posts provide negative information and in some cases are completely false. Many wonder, can business owners sue over Yelp posts?
A Consumer Has a Right to His Opinion
Although business owners may not agree with the posts made on Yelp, it is important to realize that consumers have a legal right to voice their opinions. However, the reviews posted online must be real and not fabricated. For example, a customer cannot post multiple negative reviews regarding one incident. They also are not supposed to get their friends or relatives to make negative posts if they did not have the experience themselves.
Prevent Negative Reviews on Yelp
There are some steps that business owners can take to prevent negative reviews from being posted on Yelp.
- Check Yelp Posts on a Regular Basis
- Provide Surveys for Customers
- Give Customers Other Alternatives
- Offer Money-Back Guarantees
- Provide Liberal Return Policies
- Ensure Proper Employee Training
- Enforce Customer Service Policies
Providing good customer service and liberal return policies may be very helpful in making sure that you satisfy your customers. Another important consideration is to give customers an option for providing feedback other than Yelp.
You Can File a Lawsuit with Some Caveats
The law is still developing in the area of Yelp lawsuits. You may be able to file a lawsuit against someone who posted an extremely negative review if the information was false. Currently, Yelp has been found to flag businesses that have filed lawsuits or made legal threats. This is a deterrent to taking legal action. Be aware that very often simply sending a cease and desist letter to the consumer will keep them from making further posts. It can be costly and difficult to actually file a lawsuit and there is no guarantee of the results. If your business has been financially harmed, however, it may be necessary to do something about it. Contact the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway to review your case and assist in resolving the problem.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Yelp Posts, or any other litigation matter, please feel free to contact Stockton D. Banfield at 480.461.5356, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.