Bad reviews on your website or any other Internet review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp can be very damaging for you and your business’s reputation. These negative reviews become even more problematic when they are fake or defamatory based on the wrong facts.
What does the Law Say?
The First Amendment protects the reviewer’s opinions under the speech protection act. However, the false statement or distortion of facts does not fall under this protection act.
For example, under the Law, a reviewer claiming on social media that the food at a restaurant was tasteless is an opinion. On the other hand, if the reviewer makes false accusations online or otherwise that there was a dead frog or some insect in the food, the restaurant can consider this an attempt of defaming their brand.
The Law protects the former claim assuming it as the reviewer’s personal opinion, whereas the latter is a defamatory or fake review.
Need for Demand Letter
While fake reviews can be frustrating at times, you do not necessarily have to respond to each one of them. However, you can always take actions such as sending a demand letter or sue the reviewer for spreading lies about your business.
But, before moving forward, you must analyze the nature and impact of the review, and the damage it is causing. Sending a demand letter is an official and polite way of convincing the reviewer to reconsider and take down their fake or defamatory review or post.
If you find a review post that is clearly more than just a negative opinion on your product, business, or services, you have legal grounds to send a demand letter or file a lawsuit.
How to Write and Send a Demand Letter
Here are some of the steps you must follow to compose and send an impactful demand letter against fake and defamatory reviews.
- Although you can draft your own demand letter, it is better to get an expert legal team to write a demand letter on their official letterhead on your behalf. It will add weightage to your claim and can be used as a valid proof in the court if you pursue a lawsuit.
- Be concise and stick to the facts.
- Maintain a polite tone and refrain from any personal attacks on the reviewer. A wrong approach may escalate the situation from bad to worst.
- Write a thought-provoking demand letter to make the reviewer realize the severity of consequences of their fake reviews.
- Ask them precisely to take off their fake reviews or defamatory posts.
- Give them a specific deadline along with the intimation of a legal proceeding if they do not take down the fake review off the website within the given time frame.
It is now time to send the demand draft to the reviewer. You can use both certified and standard mail. However, ask for return receipt confirmation or delivery/tracking information. It will come in handy in case the reviewer denies receiving the demand letter.