WA One star Google reviews defamatory?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by Readysetgo, 22 November 2019.

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  1. Readysetgo

    Readysetgo Member

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    Hi,

    I am a self employed tradesman and sole income earner for my wife and two kids.

    I had a disagreement with a neighbour about some flashing lights and noise in our bedroom windows that was waking my 18 month old son up late into the night.

    I complained to council and messaged the neighbour to tell him that I had a problem with it (nicely, I might add). I went to council because these particular neighbours have had violent and possibly drug fueled alterations at their property previously.

    Literally the day I sent the message to the neighbour, I started receiving 1 star google reviews on my business page.

    I went from a 5 star rating to a 4.2 with a total of 7 x 1 star reviews over a period of 7 days. These are the only reviews less than 5 star out of 55 x 5 stars in 8 years of business.

    I rely on Google reviews to keep a consistent supply of new customers.

    I was able to link all the reviewers via Facebook friends lists (they used their real names). I screenshotted all the evidence and links. I have never completed any work or quotes for these people and didn't know who they were.

    My question is, in your experience, is a one star review classed as defamation?

    It's obviously motivated it malice but the major hurdle I see is whether it's defamation when a review is not accompanied with false dialogue.

    TIA
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Yes it can and based on your post yes it is.

    But taking legal action should not be your first step. See if you can have the reviews removed in the first instance. They have contravened Google's review guidelines.
     
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  3. Readysetgo

    Readysetgo Member

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    Unfortunately, replies to these people were ignored. Concerns notices were sent and ignored. Legal action was my last option against the co accused. They have been served but only 1 has submitted the memorandum of appearance in time.. looks like an expensive few months for me.. Can they ignore court orders to have the reviews removed and what could be the consequences for doing so?
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    It appears you already have lawyers. Best to ask them these questions.
     
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  5. Readysetgo

    Readysetgo Member

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    Thanks for your reply Rob.

    As we will be putting everything our family has to have to have this wrong rectified, it would be silly to go through all this without getting a second opinion. A second opinion was all I was after as reassurance that we are not be led astray but thanks for your valuable advice.

    Just like a mechanic or a surgeon, best to always get a few opinions.
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    "They have been served ....." Who is they, the reviewers or Google?

    If people ignore court orders, then you seek damages, and then enforcement which typically involves the Sheriffs.

    The court itself may make a finding of contempt of court which comes with its own set of penalties.
     
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  7. Readysetgo

    Readysetgo Member

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    The reviewers were served.

    We decided against going after Google as we have reason to believe this neighbour would just re-review the business once he realised the reviews had been removed.

    Really appreciate your opinion and insight Rob. Thank you very very much.
     
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