With the power of the internet and social media in today’s world… there is something we must think of. Example, leaving reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, YellowPages (yp.com), Google+, direct company website and more…. there could be repercussions. I bet you did not know that? It falls under the legal terms of defamation, libel and slander. You could be sued for your comments / reviews left. How?
It’s simple… you left a review. A comment. An opinion. It is your opinion – it may not be fact. Based off of your experience. Granted – that is the point of the reviews. We as a society want to know how others in our community felt about their experience. But if you do not paint the complete picture you may be improperly advising others to not visit that business, restaurant, contractor, or even insurance agent.
Here is an example… my wife, daughter, and I visited a local restaurant. This restaurant receives rave reviews – heck I’ve been there numerous times with pleasant experiences. However this one night it was not enjoyable. The hostess told us it would be a 20 minute wait – to which we discussed as we had our toddler daughter with us and thought sure no problem. Typically 20 minutes means 10-30 minutes and we accept that. Unfortunately in this case it was closer to 70 minutes. Ugh. We get to our table and we start browsing the menus. Our toddler is getting crankier and crankier on the verge of tears from hunger. (We assumed we’d be eating by now even with a 2o minutes wait.) To make matters worse the music and atmosphere was so loud we literally couldn’t even hear each other talk at our table. Our waitress came over and was trying to get our order and we kept asking her to repeat herself, and she had to lean down next to our heads for her to hear us. Wow… that’s excessively loud and frankly just not enjoyable for a family dinner, at least in our opinion. The food seemed to take hours to come, in reality was around 30 minutes, which is still a long time for a casual restaurant. Again, our opinion. The food tasted amazing! Portions were rather small for the price we paid. Another opinion. Overall we had a bad night. Our toddler did end up in tears, we couldn’t hear each other, and we were cranky from being there over two hours. This was our personal experience. Anyway – others in the area love this place. Go all the time. Like I said, the food was great, we just had a bad experience. Maybe you enjoy loud places. Maybe you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a packed place. Maybe you go on a date and don’t mind being there for 2-3 hours for dinner. There are a lot of variables. If we go to the review sites and put this restaurant on blast and don’t elaborate as I did above – if we just say “This place stinks… horrible service… took forever to get food… will never go back” that paints the wrong picture. If I elaborate to explain our view and why we felt the way we did – readers of our comments could take into consideration their own feelings. Verbally I shared my thoughts with some friends of mine. Most agreed and some said for those reasons they don’t go – while others said they agree but still go because they still like the place. Exactly why you must be careful what you say online/review sites… your experience may be horrible for you and someone else having the exact same experience may think it’s the best place ever. My advice is to just take a few extra seconds to leave a longer review – paint the picture – don’t just say “Never go here” “Wont come back” “Horrible place” – or simpler – only leave a neutral or positive review that can’t be construed the wrong way.
Ok… so how does all this affect me? And why is an insurance agent talking about this? Simple – if you leave a review you can be sued for it. Wait… what? I can? Yes you can. Countless times in the past and going forward there will be more – individuals are sued for slander. If you leave a negative review on any site and it picks up traction – gets shared – spread – and more folks start leaving the same reviews; next this growing snowball ends up costing the business sales. Revenue. And they could even go out of business – all stemming from your review – you threw the snowball that started rolling and growing out of control. If the business (and/or their attorney) can trace their decline back to your review, or part of a group of reviews, you can be sued for libel/slander. Especially if the review wasn’t complete – didn’t give the complete picture. In the event of a lawsuit… what do I do?
If you get sued and do not have the proper coverage on your homeowners policy – then it is up to you to hire an attorney to defend yourself. Hopefully you win and do not have to pay a judgement – otherwise your assets could be seized, sold, etc to fulfill the court’s decision. OR make sure you have the coverage on your home insurance. Our carriers call it “Personal Injury.” This is an optional endorsement that typically costs around $10-12/year. Yup – thats all. Around a $1/month to protect yourself against lawsuits and judgements. If you get sued your home insurance would help provide attorney representation to help defend you. Then if you were still found guilty your insurance would pay out up the limits of your policy.
It’s that easy… contact your agent, or our agency, and make sure you have the proper coverage.
Feel free to leave us a review on any or all of our platform pages. Links provided in this blog post at the top, along with throughout our website.
Video Transcript for the Hearing Impaired (Closed Captioning is embedded in the video):
Do you go online? Do you leave reviews on Facebook? Yelp? Google+? If so stay tuned, I got some good information for you coming up.
Hey everyone Ronald Hyre here, Farmers Insurance – Hyre Insurance Agency. Down here at Portage Crossings in Cuyahoga Falls. The city put this up about a year ago, we’ve been adding a lot more businesses and made me think, especially since it’s Christmas season,
How many of you go online leave a review for Facebook, Yelp, Google+, Twitter anything like that. Good or Bad, about a business that you recently dealt with? Be it a restaurant; you had GREAT service, you had Horrible service, Food STUNK, Food was AMAZING! What did you say? What did you do? Did you know that if that business has a problem and they go out of business and they can cite the fact that it was your post that started their failure they can sue you for that? Are you aware of that? Are you protected for that? If not give us a call, we can actually change your home insurance, we can add on an endorsement for Personal Injury. So if you get sued for libel, slander, anything like that, this policy will take care of it. Make sure you’re protected, Make sure you have the right coverage. Especially in today’s day of the internet and how many things that happen on there.
More things you probably didn’t know – that we know that we’re here for you! So keep us in mind with your insurance needs. We’re always happy to help review your current policies.
Thanks so much guys, Ronald Hyre – Farmers Insurance. Make it a Great Christmas!