Online defamation of business is wrong, there’s just no two ways about it. But there are more reasons why you should be fighting back against online defamation of your business than the simple fact that it’s wrong. Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons, why you should take them seriously, and how a defamation attorney can help you to deal with them.
Online Defamation of Business: 4 Reasons Why You Should Fight Back!
1. Reduction of Profits
Perhaps the most obvious consequence of not fighting back against online defamation of a business is a reduction of profits. It’s amazing just how far one negative comment or review can travel in the digital world – even when that review or comment is untrue and malicious. Sadly negative press will always travel further and garner more attention than positive press and as this negative press gets passed around it causes current and potential clients to second guess using your services or visiting your business.
Why are people inclined to believe what they read about your business online? Unfortunately, most of the people who read defamation about your business online are going to be more inclined to believe what they read because you are the business. In the eye of the general reader, the reviewer stands nothing to gain from their review of your business. You, on the other hand, are the “big bad business” and you are immediately fingered for mistreatment of clients and customers when someone complains…even if that complaint is unfounded.
So, how can a defamation attorney help? Defamation is serious business, but getting defamatory reviews and comments removed from online forums can often require legal intervention. Put it all down to the protection of our freedom of speech and expression. But, freedom of expression or not, defamation is illegal and an attorney can intervene and prompt the removal of defamatory content as well as charge the offender for their crime.
Harassment isn’t something that happens in every case of defamation, but when it does happen it has the potential to completely destroy businesses, business owners, and even business employees.
Imagine that someone has left a defamatory comment or review of your business on a popular online forum. This person happens to be a person of favor in that community – a leader if you will. Now, when the others in this community read about “what happened” to their leader, they get upset and make it their mission to harass you, your business, and the staff at your business. They feel that their community leader was disrespected and that they are owed something in return. You know you did nothing wrong, so you stick to your guns. The community sees this as more disrespect and they begin showing up at your business, shouting accusations – “don’t eat at this restaurant, they treat their customers like sh*&”. They then start hassling employees, asking how they could work for a business like yours. This creates more problems for you because now customers are being driven away and employees are under additional stress. Again, you are losing money, but more importantly, your staff members are being hurt.
How can a defamation attorney step in to help in this type of situation? In addition to taking the steps above to get the review or comment removed from the online forum, an attorney can help you to get an injunction put in place to prevent the group from interfering with your business. An attorney can also help you to seek damages and compensation for your losses as a result of the defamation and the actions and consequences that resulted from that defamation.
3. Loss of Your Job
You may not be the owner of a business, you may be the manager or an employee of a business, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be ruined by defamation. If, for example, a customer complains that you touched them inappropriately because they were trying to get back at you for being rude to them but in reality, you did not touch them at all, there is no doubt that you will face consequences. Is this fair? No. Does it happen? All the time. You see, the business that you work for does not want the bad press that results from serious accusations like this and it’s easier for them to find a reason to fire you and claim that the issue was “dealt with” rather than stand up for you and claim that the defamatory comment was untrue. Is that legal? Unfortunately, most employment is considered to be “at will” which means that an employer has the right to fire you at any time for any reason at their discretion so long as your firing would not be a breach of the law; for example, if you were fired because of your religious beliefs.
How can an online defamation attorney help you in a situation like this? By taking the steps above, your attorney can help to prove that the statement that caused your firing was defamatory and untrue. You will also be entitled to damages and in most situations, your employer would step forward to give you back your job (again, to avoid negative press). Even in cases where you are not offered your job back, however, you will be able to collect compensation and have proof for future employers that this was a case of defamation should they bring it up after a background search.
4. Loss of Your Business
Lastly, and perhaps most devastatingly for many, defamation such as the examples noted above, can result in the complete loss of your business. As you lose customers or gain a reputation as a result of defamation, your clientele will begin to shrink as will your profits. Eventually, you will have trouble paying the bills and soon after that, you will have to close your doors.
A defamation attorney can help you to avoid this type of situation by taking the steps we discussed above, but it’s important that you act quickly. Unfortunately, when things get to the point that you have to close your business doors, there is little your attorney can do to try and help you to save your business, although they can still help you to fight against the defamer and obtain compensation for your losses.
Are You Dealing With Online Defamation of Business?
If you are currently dealing with online defamation of your company and live in the St Pete area, give attorney Matt Weidner a call. Attorney Weidner has been representing Floridians in consumer rights and defamation cases since 1999 and is known for his tenacity and dedication to his clients. To see how attorney Weidner can help you today just call 727-954-8752!