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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I published an honest online review of a firm that provided

Resolved Question:

I published an honest online review of a firm that provided serviced to me as an individual in a public blog. I have a standing contract with that firm. The review is based on the facts that I believe are true and reflect my personal opinion. I stated it at the beginning of the article. This review can affect the firm's reputation in a negative way and potentially avert customer from dealing with the firm. My motivation in providing this review is to make sure that the potential customers consider my experience and also that the firm acts on the feedback that I provided. As the firm does not belong to any review community where you can post your rating, I'm using paid search for my blog page using the brands name (i.e. Review of a Firm X) to attract online traffic to this review and make sure that the review is visible in the online search results. Can the firm take any legal actions against me and what are the risks associated with me using paid search to attract traffic to the negative review that I posted publicly? Many thanks!

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

The Defamation Act 2013 has a statutory defence of honest opinion as follows

S. 3 (1) It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the following conditions are met.

(2)The first condition is that the statement complained of was a statement of opinion.

(3)The second condition is that the statement complained of indicated, whether in general or specific terms, the basis of the opinion.

(4)The third condition is that an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of—

(a)any fact which existed at the time the statement complained of was published;

(b)anything asserted to be a fact in a privileged statement published before the statement complained of.

(5)The defence is defeated if the claimant shows that the defendant did not hold the opinion.

Truth is also a defence as follows

(1)It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true.
(2)Subsection (3) applies in an action for defamation if the statement complained of conveys two or more distinct imputations.
(3)If one or more of the imputations is not shown to be substantially true, the defence under this section does not fail if, having regard to the imputations which are shown to be substantially true, the imputations which are not shown to be substantially true do not seriously harm the claimant’s reputation.

In my opinion, you are covered by the above defences. It does not matter that you pay for online search to direct traffic to your blog.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for this answer. It does help.


 


One further question base on the above. In my review in the blog I noted that in my opinion I was overcharged for services and goods as the firm might have purchased goods on my behalf and added a mark up together with their standard service fee. I believe that this statement is true of might be true as the firm refused to show me invoices for their original purchases with third parties. Could this be considered a libel if the firm didn't add up a mark up? Many thanks again!

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
No, that would be an honest opinion.

Hope this clarifies