How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stuart J Your Own Question
Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 24601
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
11292137
Type Your Law Question Here...
Stuart J is online now

I left a review on my daughter sols Google review just

This answer was rated:

Hello I left a review on my daughter sols Google review just saying very unprofessional, I removed it immediately they don't know who I am, can they sue me for defamation

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Can you give the the background and what did you actually state?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Just that they were unprofessional that's it
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I found them to be unprofessional on the phone call with me and my daughter when they hung up mid conversation
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
That's it really
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I left a review with a honest belief that their actions were rude because we were asking for help and he hung up mid conversation whilst I was talking to him

I have quite a long standard dialogue on deformation because it’s not an uncommon question and I will do that in italics below for you.I will then come back to yours: :

Derogatory comments made to a 3rd party may be libellous and/or slanderous allegations. Slander is spoken Libel is written

A claimant has to prove that the words are defamatory, that the words would be understood to refer to the complainant by even one other person; and that the words have been published to a third party.

Comments made directly to a person about them to their face or a letter written to them, isn’t published or spoken  to a 3rd party so cannot be defamatory however bad or untrue it might be. It might be harassment however if it continues

A libel claimant does not have to prove that the words are false or to prove that he has in fact suffered any loss. Damage is presumed. A slander claimant will need to prove that the defamatory allegations caused actual damage, unless the slander is within certain categories.

There is no set definition of 'defamatory'. A statement may be considered to be defamatory if it tends to do any one of the following:

lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally;

disparage a claimant in his business, trade, office or profession;

expose the claimant to hatred, ridicule or contempt; or

cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.

Of course fair opinion is not Libel or Slander. So, if I say that "In my opinion ABC is not as good an athlete as XYZ", that is not slander, it is an opinion.

Speaking/writing truth even if defamatory, is not slander/libel but the "offender" may have to prove it true , the recipient does not have to prove it untrue.

BUT a person cannot hide behind “In my opinion”,. So you can’t say “In my opinion he is a thief and a liar with 27 failed marriages behind him”. It must be fair opinion with some kind of basis for the opinion.

The claimant can get a solicitor to write (better coming from a solicitor) to the offender refuting these allegations and advising them that unless these allegation cease forthwith, (cease a desist)  and there is a retraction/apology you will make an application to court for an injunction preventing them making any such allegations in future. If they do make any they will be in contempt of court and liable to arrest. The solicitor should threaten to seek the costs of the court proceedings from them. They should also threaten to apply for damages in respect of tarnished reputation.

Let me tell you now that defamation claims are the preserve of the rich, famous, television and film personalities and footballers. They're very expensive and only dealt with by specialist lawyers. That's not to say that a snotty letter from your local solicitor will not have the desired effect and if the person simply ignores it you are faced with risking a lot of money.

There is a limitation period of 12 months from when the defamation occurs, after which time a defendant can raise limitation as a defence to have the claim thrown out.

So quite simply, what you have said is true then it is not defamatory although making the comment that somebody’is rude is subjective and always open to challenge.

The golden rule is to never put a negative review anywhere unless you are prepared to back up what’s been said with hard evidence.

So for example you could say that they hung up mid conversation.

However we don’t know why they hung up, they could allege that your daughter was swearing at them and that’s why they hung up.

So to say that it was rude of them to hang up may or may not be the case.

It’s unlikely that the comment will show up if you removed it immediately and if they don’t know who you are, they going to have to find out and they may not be bothered.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Well we have proof of a rude email where they said don't waste my time any further when dealing with the case
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Do they not need to prove that it caused serious harm so like financial loss etc?

Being brutally honest with you, it’s unlikely you’re going to hear anything about this firstly because you removed it and secondly because the cost of bringing these claims is extremely expensive and risky and solicitors will want five grand upfront before they start because these claims have a habit of petering out.

An email which says don’t waste my time any further isn’t necessarily rude.  You don’t know what it’s in relation to.

It’s always difficult to prove what compensation should be awarded in cases like this.

Stuart J and other Law Specialists are ready to help you