Today I was curious about how common it is for companies to sue their customers since five of my neighbors are being sued in federal court by the national home builder who sold us defective homes here at Willowbrook in Bradenton, FL. So I did a Google search and found mostly customers who sue companies though there are some cases in which companies do sue their customers.
According to one article: “Every American has the right to express their opinion online about personal experiences they have had with a business, according to a Valley attorney. As long as those opinions are truthful, it doesn’t matter if your comments have a negative impact on the business. If a business doesn’t think you’re being truthful, they could sue you, but the burden of proof is on them – not you.”
There are a growing number of lawsuits in the United States over posts on websites such as Yelp. With 84 million visitors and 33 million reviews written each month, Yelp is a popular place for consumers to look for information. A Harvard study showed that a one star increase in rating on Yelp yields a 5-9% increase in revenue for a company. This suggests that online reviews are important to a company’s reputation and success.
In another case a company sued a customer who complained online, thus posing the question whether future customers would trust a company that sues its customers: “However, hasn’t the damage largely been done? If the company succeeds in squeezing 200,000 euros from the (name of defendant), will people rush to have their (products) serviced there? Or will they avoid (name of plaintiff) just in case one of its no doubt talented service personnel is having a very bad day?”
Another story involved online review sites: “The lawsuits could set a troubling precedent whether the courts side with the reviewers or the businesses. If people lose the right to comment freely on Yelp and other review sites, then average customers lose their right to free speech and businesses aren’t as accountable… But if reviewers prevail, then businesses could potentially be destroyed by people making false accusations online. So far, there hasn’t been a clear winner in courts. While some businesses have won million-dollar sums for their troubles, others lose and are met with media backlash because it’s perceived they’re trying to silence customers.”
Most of us would agree that false accusations, revenge, or intimidation should not be allowed to harm others, whether it’s a company or an individual. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth is so appalling that natural consequences will prevail. BTW, I recently acquired the floor joist that should have been installed on the second floor / garage ceiling, across the entire length of the end unit I purchased as new construction here at Willowbrook, four years ago.