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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70187
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I left a review on Tripadviser about a Resturant. The owner

Resolved Question:

Hi, I left a review on Tripadviser about a Resturant. The owner responded on Tripadviser and has accused me of verbal blackmail, not looking to gain just don't like what I believe is a serious accusation. Any advice greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

What would you like to know about this please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I've attached a screenshot of my review and the owners response I have a draft of what would be my response if I had the chance to publicly defend the accusation of verbal blackmail. I would like her to remove her accusation from this very public domain.
Thank you
Sorry if you get 2 x reply my iPad crashed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please see my draft response
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Ok. So what is your question about this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My question is: do I have any legal rights to this kind of accusation made on a public web site?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Did you say anything about a refund and telling everybody how bad the food was?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I told the owner I would not pay for the mixed salad.
I told her I would tell my friends and family not to go there, but certainly did not say it in order to gain a refund.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

It is always very difficult to prove what was said.

There is no such thing as verbal blackmail. A blackmail is a blackmail whether reduced to writing or not. It is possible to argue in academic law that a threat to tell everybody something that would be damaging to a person in exchange for financial gain is a blackmail. It is not one the police would be interested in but it is blackmail in academic law.

To take action against him you would have to do so in defamation. That is quite hard to do in this instance essentially because you are anonymous on these review sites and so it cannot be damaging to your reputation. If it is not damaging then there is no defamation. Action ends.

If you can get over that hurdle then you would have to show on the balance of probabilities that you didnt say what he says. That would probably be easier to do that you think as he won't have made notes of the conversation so it might well be possible to shake him during the course of cross examination

But the anonymity is a problem.

You could always get a solicitor to write to him warning him of the risk of a defamation action if he does not remove it or edit it. That would cost about £100 plus VAT and may work.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your answer, I'd guessed it would probably not be worth taking further, but felt strongly that I had been wrongly accused of blackmail, interestingly her response starts with my name.
Again thank you.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Usually defamation is not worth the cost.

A letter before action can be though

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