As small business owners, from time to time, we get a bad online review. Whether it is warranted or not, it is something we need to take seriously and have options when responding.
Recently, there has been national news about a pet sitter from Dallas who sued a ex-client for over $6,000 for writing a bad review of their company on Yelp. There are many different ways to look at this situation, but the one we will focus on today:
Is it Actually Legal to Sue Over a Bad Review?
Listen to this interview with an Arizona attorney, Brent Kleinman who helps us understand what this means on a state and national level.
I asked Brent what he thought about the case? He explained that it is unprecedented and that recently (Dec 2015) the Senate just passed a bill barring companies from using “gag clauses” to block negative reviews saying that a business can not have this type of clause in their contract. Next, it has to pass the House and President has to sign.
Apparently, there was even a hotel who said they would charge customers an extra $500 if they wrote a negative review.
As you can see, things can get out of hand. Brent stresses the importance of actually working with a small business lawyer in your state to construct a contract that protects the business owner while being respectful of the consumer rights as well.
Brent is from Just in Time Consulting as my business. I am using legal knowledge and marketing background to help businesses make a smart decision in creating and operating their business. The email is justintimeconsultingaz@gmail.