We live in an age when online reviews are critical to the success of many businesses, and negative reviews can be catastrophic for a company trying to protect its reputation. One of the best means available to customers to learn about the reliability of a company and its products or services is through honest online reviews. However, we also live in an age of litigation, where lawsuits are more rampant than ever.
When these two ideals collide – the necessity of free speech regarding online reviews and the frequency of lawsuits – it can create problems for customers. If you are a customer facing a defamation lawsuit for your honest negative online reviews of a company, product or service, you need to know your options and how you can defend yourself.
A recent case
Defamation lawsuits from companies against online reviewers are becoming increasingly common. A recent example, reported by CTV News online, is a pretty common example. A Toronto couple left negative online reviews about a window company because they had problems with the windows leaking following the installation. The company sued the couple for defamation.
The couple countered with an anti-SLAPP claim and were ultimately awarded more than $150,000.
What is Anti-SLAPP?
Anti-SLAPP is a statute created to protect people form predatory lawsuits like the one seen above. In Illinois, it is called the “Citizen Participation Act,” is intended to protect peoples’ free speech and free participation in open dialog.
How can this help you?
If you are facing a defamation lawsuit from negative reviews you posted online, it is possible that anti-SLAPP could help you obtain efficient relief. It is important to note that you should talk to an experienced online defamation defense lawyer about your case, as anti-SLAPP does not apply in every case. And whether anti-SLAPP applies or not, you will need to defend against this type of lawsuit aggressively, as losing could be costly for you.