Online reviews have become a strong tool for customers to share their experiences with businesses in this digital age.
These reviews, whether positive or negative, may have a substantial influence on a company’s reputation. However, a common concern is whether writing a poor Google review might result in legal consequences.
In this article, we will look at the legal elements of online reviews and defamation, and explain when it may be necessary to seek legal help.
Defamation is a legal term that refers to making defamatory remarks about another person or organisation that harms their reputation. When it comes to internet reviews, leaving a bad comment might result in a defamation action if certain requirements are met:
- Defamatory Statement: The review must contain defamatory statements about the company or individual in question which lowers its reputation.
- Identification: The readers of the review must be able to identify the individual or company that you are reviewing.
- Publication: The statement must be published for public viewing. In the context of online reviews, posting a review on a public platform like Google qualifies as a publication.
If your defamatory review is based on truthful experiences or is a fair opinion based on true facts, you generally have a defence to any defamation action against you. If the information you publish or what you say about the company or individual is false, then you may be liable for defamation.
Understanding online reviews in Singapore
Singapore has strict laws governing defamation, and this includes online reviews. If you write a negative review that contains false information about a business or an individual, you may face a defamation action. In addition, the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) provides legal recourse for people and companies that believe that they have been harassed online.
The power and pitfalls of online reviews
Online reviews have transformed the way consumers make decisions about products, services, and businesses.
They provide individuals with a forum to express their thoughts and experiences with the public. While favourable ratings might help a company’s reputation and sales, negative reviews can do the opposite. In such an event, the company can appoint a Singapore defamation lawyer to assist in the removal of such false negative reviews.
Case Study: A Negative Restaurant Review
Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario: Suppose you had a horrible experience at a restaurant and chose to leave a negative review on Google. You claim in your review that you got ill from the restaurant’s food, but you are unable to prove it because you did not go to see a doctor.
If you cannot prove that the facts in the review were true or that you honestly believed in the truth of your comment, the restaurant may have a valid defamation claim against you.
In this circumstance, the restaurant may pursue legal action under Singapore’s defamation laws, potentially leading to a court case in which you would be expected to defend the truth of your review. If you are found liable for defamation, you may face be required to compensate the restaurant for any damage to its reputation as a result of your review.
While online reviews may be a useful tool for customers to voice their ideas and experiences, they must be based on true facts.
Posting a negative Google review that contains false information in Singapore can lead to legal consequences, including defamation claims. To protect yourself and your rights, it is essential to be aware of the laws and seek legal assistance when needed.
If you are looking for a Singapore defamation lawyer, consider the services provided by DC Law LLC to guide you through the process. We are a reputable law firm that specialises in defamation law in Singapore. With years of experience under your belt, we are committed to helping you safeguard your reputation.
Contact us today for more information.