TripAdvisor-featured restaurant threatens legal action over malicious review posting

The Times recently reported on the case of a part-time nurse who had been threatened with legal action after leaving a one-star rating on TripAdvisor.  

She described the staff as “rude and arrogant”, and the food as “mediocre at best”.

The restaurant says that her posting was malicious.  It says she had eaten there a number of times before and that she was peeved when they banned her, having been rude to staff on the phone.  She denied this.

Some members of the public have been quick to take sides online, both for and against the restaurant.  Presumably the large majority have felt able to comment without any actual knowledge as to who was telling the truth on this occasion.

But it highlights a real dilemma increasingly faced by people in the tourism and leisure sector.  When is it right to respond?  Or when is it better to maintain a dignified silence?

Online reviewers need to be aware that the law of defamation potentially applies where any comment posted may result in serious harm and, in the case of a business, serious financial loss. 

As with all disputes, they are best avoided. But businesses do have rights against people who make malicious postings about them, and sometimes it is necessary to enforce those rights.

If you would like more information about this or a related topic, please contact the Dispute Resolution team.