Fake News, Fake Reviews and Fake Users – three fakes don’t make a right

15-February-2019 Commercial Disputes By Mark Streeter

What can you do when fake or negative reviews damage your business?

Business owners are all to aware of the importance of not only establishing but maintaining a positive online presence. Negative (or even fake) reviews or posts have the potential to jeopardise critical opportunities for business owners to connect with new customers.

The Streeterlaw Commercial Dispute Team take pride in utilising their experience in the Federal and Supreme Court to help their clients resolve defamation, and misleading and deceptive conduct cases.

This article equips Streeterlaw’s valued clients to identify, triage and manage any fake posts or negative reviews so that they do not negagtively affect your reputation or business.

Two helpful questions to ask initially…

Who wrote the negative review?

Was the person responsible for the negative or fake post a customer or an opportunist? It is wise to obtain an extract of the post and the profile of the poster. If you do not know the identity of the person or company responsible for the negative post, you may be entitled to access legal solutoins to assist you to obtain information to establish their identity.

In what way is the review false and defamatory?

By law, people cannot post reviews that insinuate (“impute”) representations that are false or defamatory. Streeterlaw can assist you in assessing whether the conduct of the reviewer is “reasonable in the circumstances”.  A customer cannot post malicious lies which harm you or your business. If the review or post imputations are false and do harm to your business, it may be considered defamation or misleading and deceptive conduct.

Two practical tips to protect your business…

  1. Do not ignore the problem. Delay may affect your opportunity to obtain relief.
  2. Document the any negative or fake posts as each imputation will assessed on a case by case basis and, depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to get a false review removed.

At Streeterlaw we understand that reviews can make or break a business. We are here to help you ensure that the online presence of your business is reflective of the high quality of your work and the excellent service you provide.

What can I do if my business falls victim to fake or negative reviews?

Contact us via the below webform or phone 8197 0105 to speak to our Law Society Accredited Specialists.  Alternatively, we can be contacted via email on advice@streeterlaw.com.au

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Written by Mark Streeter

Mark Streeter

The Director of Streeterlaw, Mark has been practicing Law since 1994. He has attained his Masters of Law in 1999 and in 2006 was awarded his Specialist Accreditation in Commercial Litigation. Mark is a member of ARITA, a graduate of the AICD and a member of AICM. A member of STEP, Mark enjoys working in the area of Wills and Estates. In 2020 Mark is the Chair of STEP NSW.

Call us on 02 8197 0105 to book an appointment with Mark Streeter!

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