There is a darkly satisfying feeling for a person to post a scathing review against a company that provided a bad product or service. However, if the review is defamatory and damages the company’s reputation, the person who left the review can be sued.
Many businesses have benefited from the growing number of review sites and apps in recent years. Reviews cover everything from food, travel, medical professionals and employers. Platforms like Facebook and Google make it easy for people to post a compliment or a complaint. Mobile technology allows individuals to post a review while still inside a store.
Negative online reviews are terrifying but for small businesses, they are disastrous. In some extreme cases, corporate giants are forced to change their policies. Some companies are motivated to silence the negative reviewers by taking them to court.
In Australia, freedom of speech is not actually as free as some people think particularly when done online. Although Australia’s constitution has implied freedom of political communication, it is not the same as the US style of free speech. There are defamation laws that restrict freedom of speech.
Courts have the power to force an individual to remove content posted on the internet. He may be required to pay damages to the plaintiff for any harm done to the reputation. Damages can be significant if defamation results to loss of business and opportunities. Prosecution for contempt may result from failure to comply.
If economic loss cannot be proven, substantial general damages may be awarded to the plaintiff as consolation for hurt and distress. If defamation happens online, award for damages may increase because of the grapevine effect where salacious content is shared and repeated online. The issue of anonymous reviews can pursued through the review site rather than the reviewer.
However, it can be denied that many companies benefit from reviews. When present and former employees post kingkong.com.au review, it affirms the authenticity and credibility of the digital agency. No one knows a company better than its own employees. When the digital agency responds to both the positive and negative reviews, it further emphasizes the organization’s professionalism.