Kentucky business owners have a right to protect their reputation from false or defamatory reviews posted online by unsatisfied or disgruntled customers. As reported by CNBC.com, nearly 86% of customers in the U.S. read online reviews about a business before deciding to make a purchase.
Some user comments may assert that the customer had an exceedingly negative experience with the business, its employees or an owner. When a particularly derogatory comment causes serious damage, however, a legal action may bring about a remedy. Based on the circumstances, a Bluegrass State court may order the removal of the harmful content, mandate a correction and possibly require the customer to post an apology.
A user’s comments or review may reflect defamation or libel
An online review posted with malice or an intent to harm a business or its owner’s reputation may have crossed the line from opinion to defamation. Recklessly posting negative comments or statements with no basis on fact may cause readers to drastically change their opinions about a business.
As noted by Forbes magazine, defamation generally occurs when the comments actually cause harm to an individual’s reputation. If an angry customer or a competitor posts falsehoods online, a court may view it as defamation or libel when a business owner or its employees prove the comments hurt their livelihood.
A business owner may counter false or defamatory information
An honest, but negative, review may enjoy protection under the First Amendment as representing free speech or an individual’s personal opinion. If the posted content, however, contains lies, gross exaggerations or inaccurate information, a business owner may choose to initiate a legal action to protect his or her reputation and source of income.