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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have the following issue : I submitted a review

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Hello I have the following issue :
I submitted a review online for a car garage, now the garage has threatened to sue me for libel / defamation / slander
I made the following comments:
Inferior parts used - Prior to my comment ,I was suspicious about the workmanship so took my car to an independent specialist after it had been worked on. The garage told me the part used did not have a cover which could affect the lifetime of its use. I received a letter on headed note paper.
Owner was abusive and rude on the phone and used a gangster-esque "don't you know who we are comment on the phone.
Car was covered in scratches and oil inside the vehicle - Previous to the car going into the garage I paid a garage to re-paint my vehicle, when I received the car back there were over 5 scratches to the paint.
The last two points are included in a claim I sent to the garage and which was received this week prioir to his threat of suing for libel/defamation / slander
Please advise
Thank you
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are you able to justify all the comments you md and shoe that they were true or a fair representation of the facts?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well I have the following for each of the comments :Car was covered in scratches and oil inside the vehicle - Previous to the car going into the garage I paid a garage to re-paint my vehicle, when I received the car back there were over 5 scratches to the paint. I have a receipt for the painting of the car 3 weeks prior to it being taken in for the repairs, I also started the process of a civil claim for this repair)The owner was abusive on the phone - This is true however the call was not recored and therefore difficult to prove either way.
Inferior parts used, as above I have a letter from an independent specialist questioning the quality of the part used especialliy as it does not have a cover so water could get in and affect the lifetime of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
worth pointing out he is a small independent garage with no credit score, he has only been trading for one year.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I didn't include the claim for the inferior part in my initial letter , I didnt want the hassle of that one. I will attaché the letter I sent
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I sent my letter and he received it prior to his online threat to sue.
Whilst there is nothing stopping him from threatening to sue for defamation (this includes libel if it is in written form, or slander if it is in oral form), such claims are extremely difficult to pursue. Many people are intent on suing for defamation without having any appreciation of the law behind them, so I will try and clear things up for you now. First of all, certain conditions must be met for the statement to be classified as defamatory. These are: 1. The statement has to be untrue.2. It must directly identify the complainant.3. It must have been published, usually communicated to at least another person.4. It must be in a form of words, which would tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of ‘right thinking members of society generally', expose the claimant to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.5. Its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant. Whilst it may be easy to prove that defamation has occurred, the legal process of pursuing such a claim is extremely complex and expensive. As this goes through the High Court, they would need the professional help of specialist defamation solicitors and the costs are undoubtedly going to run into the thousands right at the outset. Also there is no legal aid available for such claims so the complainant must fund these personally. So when you hear about defamation claims being made, these are usually pursued by big corporations or celebrities who have a public image to protect. You must also consider whether you can defend the claim. Even if they satisfy the criteria to prove the statement was defamatory it could be defended on a number of grounds, including by providing evidence that the statement was substantially true or an honest opinion. There is of course nothing stopping them from contacting you and threatening that what you have done amounts to defamation and that you they consider pursuing the matter further. However, in reality it is quite unlikely that this will go to court or even if it does, that it will be a successful claim. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben, could you be more specific with regards ***** ***** points. Are these basis for a defence ?
Yes certainly, all can qualify either as truthful statements, or at least an honest opinion so I would be very surprised if based on all of the factors if a claim is made
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks ben, I feel slightly better about it all... I have removed the post anyway just to avoid any more issues.
Ok that will also help as it will limit any potential damage, I honestly do not see this becoming a defamation claim in court. If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
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