Advert: Received a bad review online? You can do something about it!

Time 1:25 pm, May 28, 2019

If you want to discuss issues around the feedback your dealership has been given, call Legalsolutions4U.

OVER the past two years, we have seen a revolutionary change in the way car dealerships deal with reviews about them.

Reviews now form an integral part of a car dealership’s sales and form the basis of most customers’ initial impression of their business.

All dealerships are looking for the best reviews in order to attract future potential customers.

On the odd occasion, you will get a customer who will write a bad review. The question is, ‘what can be done?’ The feedback may contain false statements or may include a number of negative comments about your garage.

Under common law, to constitute defamation a claim must generally be false and must have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media, such as printed words or images, called libel.

If the post does give rise to a potential defamation claim against the customer, the comments may also constitute harassment against the garage. Ultimately, the garage may be entitled to pursue damages from the customer and potentially gain an injunction against them to prevent a similar incident from occurring in future.

You have probably all seen comments like this online at some point…

 Cowboy motor company – avoid at all costs!
 Wouldn’t give me a refund, conmen!
 Joke of a company, avoid!

These are all typical examples of what we come across and may be classed as defamatory.

If you feel that you have any reviews like this, then here at LegalSolutions4U we can have a look at the reviews for you and advise if they can be removed.

If it is a customer who has purchased the vehicle from you who has posted the bad review this can be challenged in two ways.

Firstly, you can contact the hosting review site (eg, Google) and make an application to have the review removed on grounds of defamation.

The advantage of this route is that if the review is defamatory, it is generally removed within seven days. However, sometimes the hosting website may not agree that the post is defamatory – for example, where a review states ‘the customer service was terrible and the dealer never returned my telephone calls’.

In order to deal with such a situation, you may contact the customer direct and explain to them that their posting of the version of events is false and as such is defamatory and needs to be removed. You may still have a claim for defamation. We do generally find that the customer will remove it when advised about the legalities of defamation and that if it is not removed that the garage could pursue them for damages to their business.

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If you believe that somebody has simply posted a malicious review and you have had no dealings with the person who left the review, then you can contact the website which is hosting the review and explain the situation and again request that the review is removed.

If you feel you may have any issues that you would like to discuss, please call one of our specialist legal advisers for a free discussion.

For more information on how to protect your dealership and increase your profitability, call 0191 481 3992.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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