Should I be concerned about posting a negative review of a company?

Anonymous September 25, 2014
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Hi,

I’ve had a bad experience with a retailer and would like to post an honest but ultimately negative review online. Whilst I will share my experience and deal only in facts, I wanted to seek some feedback to ensure that I’m not going to risk any defamation/slander case against me

I’ve included a description of what has happened and would be grateful for any feedback. This is in relation to a previously run article on the makeuseof.com website – http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/leaving-online-review-word-right-avoid-legal-action/

I was looking for a luxury product and, after shopping around, chose to purchase this through a local company. I was told that in order to secure the product from the supplier I would need to pay upfront (which regretably I did through a balance transfer into the companies bank account – ultimately this decision proved to be extremely costly). I was assured that the product would be available in 6-8 weeks and kept in regular contact with the company. After 6 weeks I was informed that the company could not honour the agreement and they would provide a refund. The company director indicated that the company was on the brink of going under. I traveled to the company showroom and was refunded the full balance back onto my debit card (or so I thought). I waited a few days but the refund did not go through and the director promptly disappeared and was not contactable from then on despite numerous attempts to contact them in person, over the phone, and by email. I later found that the director had been declared bankrupt through Insolvency records online. That, I thought, was the end of the matter and I knew that I wouldn’t see my money again. By chance a few weeks later when looking online I noticed that the company had resurfaced with a more or less indentical name (essentially a “phoenix” company). This company had a new director – related to the bankrupt director from the previous company – in order to get around rules stipulating the running of a company by someone declared as bankrupt. The bankrupt director works for the newly formed company however – and would be the person prospective customers deal with when looking to buy.

The review I wanted to leave was to air my experience and mention the issues I have had with the company only, specifically:

* Being asked to pay for an expensive product upfront – other companies will accept payment on receipt of the goods, purchasing goods through credit schemes or securing the purchase through an initial small deposit
* Company not providing the product
* Company not fulfilling a refund
* Company going bust and director being declared bankrupt – I will not mention personal names (but this information is available in the public domain so I can’t foresee anything libelous here)
* Company reignited as a phoenix under a marginally different name – this is the company against which I will leave a review (this may be slightly contentious as it was the liquidated company from which I had my bad experience but as the failed director is firmly part of this there is a link)

All feedback would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks,

Ben

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  1. Dr.sunil V
    September 27, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Actually it is nice to talk strongly against the dishonesty. But in this era of quarrel , it is safer to ignore the dissentment over small trifles and use the energy for self-progress.

    If it is a financial cheat , you can directly chastise and correct where it is practical , in a positive way , without losing self-control

  2. Vipul J
    September 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    From I what understood, you haven't got your money back and you know where the guy who 'conned' you is.
    Shouldn't you visit the police, and have them shut this company down and get your money back?

  3. Bruce E
    September 25, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I am not a lawyer. I do not play one on TV, but I do know several.

    Your last bullet in the list is likely to be the bullet that should kill the review. In many places, once a company is sold, dissolved, etc., and it is later resurrected - even if the documents doing so are processed immediately after the dissolution - it is almost always considered a different company regardless of the name and staffing. In that case, posting any negative review could result in legal action for libel.

    Your best bet is to contact a civil lawyer in your area and ask them about the level of risk as the specifics vary from place to place.