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TheInternet LawCentre

How to Remove False and Defamatory Reviews

1.	Defamation Review Legal Advice Article

Questions about defamatory online reviews

Many people genuinely believe and even insist that review websites are there to enhance consumer’s ability to make the right choice or to educate them in choosing; a reputable supplier, a builder, an estate agent or even a holiday provider - and they are dead wrong. The truth is that the vast majority of those who operate review websites have clever systems that are aimed at benefitting them financially by encouraging visitors to their website to write negative reviews. This is often achieved by attacking and consequently destroying the reputation of good, honest and well established businesses across the UK.

 It is only a matter of time before most of us find ourselves at the mercy of operators of review websites who will consider themselves as the judges and jury in a very public trial. Mystery visitors to these websites will tell the world that their “dream holiday” has turned into a huge disappointment (maybe even a nightmare). Those business owners who have already suffered from negative, defamatory reviews on the internet and who have seen with their own eyes their good reputation being publically tarnished on the internet have also realised that suddenly, the telephone stopped ringing. They have written letter after letter to the operators of review websites asking and even begging that they remove the defamatory review(s) or at least tell them who wrote the reviews; but they would agree to neither. This raises the question:

Are the operators of review websites liable for defamation posted by anonymous users?

The simple answer: YES. The vast majority of website operators are liable to defamation. Their liability to you starts from the moment you notify them of the defamation. If the website operator then chooses to keep the defamatory review on their website, their liability for defamation is almost equal to that of the person who wrote the defamatory review. This is a big risk to take after you have given the website operator notice.

The website operator says that you can respond to the defamatory review(s) and put the record straight – Is this a good idea?

Every time that you respond to a defamatory review, you make the review more visible on search engine results. Very often, the defamatory review will contain many inaccuracies or you may simply have no recollection of the incident complained of. Therefore, responding to a defamatory review on review website if unlikely to make things any better. You do not have to respond if you do not want to and this does not change the liability of the website operator towards you.

So why do so many operators of review websites simply get away with publishing defamation online?

The answer is that they don’t. Many will remove the defamation after they receive the proper communications from expert lawyers who highlight their vulnerable legal position. Often the website operators will have to agree to remove all of the defamatory material from their website and then agree to a fair process in order to move forward.

The question is: When it comes to YOUR business, will you allow profiteering website operators to get away with it? Or will YOU do something about it?

In less than one hour, we can ask you a few key questions, examine online ‎reviews about your company and provide a very, very revealing analysis of all of the options that are ‎open to you to have reviews removed from the internet. We will advise you on how formulate a strategy for ‎dealing with false online reviews and provide you with tips on how to make your telephone start ringing again. Business owner after business owner tells us “I had no idea I could remove those darned ‎reviews”.‎

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