Crap...I need legal advice...help!

64 replies
Hi Warriors,

I run a review site, except on this particular site I actually TRY the products and give my honest opinion about them based on my expertise in the niche, having worked in that industry for a long time.

I reviewed one guy's product and in addition to listing the features, also recommended my visitors to steer clear of it and I called into question the competence of its creator.

Long story short, the guy reached out to me and told me to remove it. I removed my affiliate link and told him that I owe it to my visitors to give them an objective look at what they're paying for (especially since 99% of "review" sites don't do any reviewing whatsoever) and that the review stays where it is. In his next email he threatens me with legal action.

This guy's in Australia and I'm in the US. Does he have any legal recourse against me for my stating the opinion that he's essentially incompetent (as demonstrated in his product) and that his product is not worth purchasing on its own merits either?

I don't mind removing in the face of real legal trouble but I'd rather not if it helps my visitors make a good choice of how to spend their money in a niche that I believe is oversaturated with pure charlatans.

FYI: I actually had the affiliate link up on ALL of the products before I reviewed them because I was going to make a "here are the facts, you decide" type of site. But I decided in my disgust at the quality of several products to voice my actual opinion and removed aff links on all the products that I couldn't recommend.

I'm eternally grateful for any advice you can offer.
Vic
#advicehelp #crapi #legal
  • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
    Vic,

    Get a Lawyer.

    If you don't want to go to that expense then you might want to consider removing the comment that's he's incompetent, but I'm sure he's taken a screenshot of that so the damage is done.

    Which brings us back to "get a lawyer and/or remove the review".

    I don't think you helped your case by having an affiliate link to the product. If it's so crap how could you, in all conscience, sell it to your readers?

    In future I would discuss the product and not the creator. "This product is crap" could perhaps be defended as fair comment (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer). "This guy is incompetent/stupid/a scammer, etc" seems potentially libelous/costly.


    Martin
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    • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
      Originally Posted by Martin Luxton View Post

      Vic,

      Get a Lawyer.

      If you don't want to go to that expense then you might want to consider removing the comment that's he's incompetent, but I'm sure he's taken a screenshot of that so the damage is done.

      Which brings us back to "get a lawyer and/or remove the review".

      I don't think you helped your case by having an affiliate link to the product. If it's so crap how could you, in all conscience, sell it to your readers?

      In future I would discuss the product and not the creator. "This product is crap" could perhaps be defended as fair comment (disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer). "This guy is incompetent/stupid/a scammer, etc" seems potentially libelous/costly.


      Martin

      Thanks Martin. I actually had the affiliate link up on all of the products before I reviewed them because I was going to make a "here are the facts, you decide" type of site. But I decided in my disgust at the quality of several products to voice my actual opinion and removed aff links on all the products that I couldn't recommend.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I called into question the competence of its creator.
    IANAL - no legal info here. Could you have gone too far?

    Reviewing a product should focus on the reasons the product doesn't work or whatever - and you can be specific about that if you've tested it. But why would you post a negative review - and then have your affiliate link to the product? Just curious.

    You may have gone too far when you made it a personal attack on the product creator. Why not keep the review of the product but remove personal comments about the seller.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Now you know why there is a "rule one" on the Warrior Forum. Of course it doesn't apply off the WF to anyone unless they have their own "rule ones."

    Your opinion is still only your opinion. The object of your review probably has others who think he is the best thing since (your favorite best thing here) however, that's their opinion.

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    My take. I also am NOT a lawyer.

    What you probably should have done originally was a straight review - product A does this, this and this, product B does this but not this, product H (the one in question) fails to achieve this and this.

    Questioning the competence of its creator probably wasn't wise and it probably was also unwise to recommend people avoid it.

    All you needed was a star rating. Give product H one star and simply don't recommend it. Finish your review of product A by saying this is our no1 recommendation because. Finish product E by saying this is our no 2 recommendation because. Simply make no recommendation for product H.

    As for the situation you find yourself in. Simply remove the product. If people trust your site they will purchase one of the products you feature. If product H isn't even mentioned and there are others to choose from they'll do just that.
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  • Profile picture of the author sadiecopywriter
    When I write review on a product, I use this format; a description of the product, who will like it, who won't like it, and my thoughts on it.

    Under 'my thoughts' I never say bad things about the creator, just the product. You may have crossed a line by reviewing the creator, not the product.

    You wouldn't like it if someone did that to you, I'm sure. I don't say things online that I wouldn't say to their face. That's how you stay out of trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author ~kev~
    Certain states have laws on the books to protect reviewers from what your going through.

    Get with a lawyer and ask if your state has such a law.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    In the US, you have a right to voice an opinion. Where you will get into trouble is if you mis-state facts. Make sure your facts are correct and that your opinions are clearly opinions.

    People get ripped all the time by critics. If you believe the guy is incompetent, stick by your guns, you have every right to express your opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnapo
    Of course you should ask a lawyer but this is what 1000s review sites do already.

    Saying something negative for something is not illegal. Imagine all those reviewers, especially the ones at amazon and other sites that they don't just say their opinion at their blog but at the order page that the actual visitor will use to get the product.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      <----- Not a Lawyer

      I would remove anything that resembles a personal attack, but leave a full out review of the actual product.

      You can even mention the product makers name. Just don't say information you are unable to verify.
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Originally Posted by vtotheyouknow View Post


    ...Does he have any legal recourse against me for my stating the opinion that he's essentially incompetent...

    ...and that his product is not worth purchasing on its own merits either?
    The courts may see a difference between giving a bad review on a product and calling somebody incompetent. Clearly, the creator did.

    Keep in mind that this person has the right to sue you if he feels that he has been defamed. That doesn't mean that he would win, but it does mean that you would have to respond and defend yourself against the suit. You have to decide how far you are willing to go. Are you keeping the review up on a matter of principle? If so, is it worth the possible legal troubles that could ignite from it?

    My opinion doesn't matter and you shouldn't use it as legal advice. I have not seen your post or the affiliate agreement, so I can't base any opinion on the actual facts if I don't know them. Also, I'm just some goof on the Internet that watches lawyer TV shows, but isn't actually one.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Vic, you are not going to get legal advice on a forum, nor would you want public advice.

    Without reviewing exactly what you wrote and his complaint, and any legal terms associated with the product purchase and affiliate agreement, it is impossible to evaluate your situation.

    This is not a simple "opinion" review as you would like your post to suggest, particularly since you are an affiliate. But that can be sorted out once you have everything reviewed.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      The owner of this forum has said to NOT take legal advice on the forum. Many members of this forum have said the same thing. And if you still don't believe it, here's the same advice coming from a real attorney:

      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      Vic, you are not going to get legal advice on a forum, nor would you want public advice.

      Without reviewing exactly what you wrote and his complaint, and any legal terms associated with the product purchase and affiliate agreement, it is impossible to evaluate your situation.

      This is not a simple "opinion" review as you would like your post to suggest, particularly since you are an affiliate. But that can be sorted out once you have everything reviewed.

      .

      Now, for anyone who's reading (and believing) some of these outlandish posts in this thread, please go to the whiteboard and write, "I will not take legal advice on a forum" 100 times. Then smack yourself with a wet noodle.
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  • Profile picture of the author serena85
    My opinion is not to worry to much on this subject (but then again is just my opinion). There is just what you think about his product. There are many things that he must do before taking you to court.

    He must first prove that the product is his and it is registered with paid taxes up to date and so on........
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by serena85 View Post

      There are many things that he must do before taking you to court.

      He must first prove that the product is his and it is registered with paid taxes up to date and so on........
      This is complete nonsense. I have no idea where someone would get this idea, such as paying taxes, but it is not true.

      .
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by serena85 View Post

      There are many things that he must do before taking you to court.

      He must first prove that the product is his and it is registered with paid taxes up to date and so on........
      Where do people get this stuff from?! There surely can't be a country in the world in which that would be true?
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        You are excercising te freedom of speach. It's your opinon. If the product owner doesn't want to be criticized then don't have a product. Or usE a pen name..
        The old freedom of speech argument loses its power when you are saying things for commercial gain. Your "rights" end at the point where they run into the rights of someone else.

        Vic - To me, your argument was lost in the original post

        I owe it to my visitors to give them an objective look
        If you are questioning the competence of someone you've never met - taking the self righteous path is seldom the best plan. There is one legal eagle in this thread (Kindsvater) and that's the only person who KNOWS about the legal aspect.

        As a consumer, I do not trust any site that offers a negative review followed by an affiliate link - and it's not rare to see that. I've also avoided buying from a site where the review became petty, opinionated and personal. This problem could be a lesson to improve your site in the end.

        kay
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  • Profile picture of the author GMD
    Banned
    Originally Posted by vtotheyouknow View Post

    Hi Warriors,

    I run a review site, except on this particular site I actually TRY the products and give my honest opinion about them based on my expertise in the niche, having worked in that industry for a long time.

    I reviewed one guy's product and in addition to listing the features, also recommended my visitors to steer clear of it and I called into question the competence of its creator.

    Long story short, the guy reached out to me and told me to remove it. I removed my affiliate link and told him that I owe it to my visitors to give them an objective look at what they're paying for (especially since 99% of "review" sites don't do any reviewing whatsoever) and that the review stays where it is. In his next email he threatens me with legal action.

    This guy's in Australia and I'm in the US. Does he have any legal recourse against me for my stating the opinion that he's essentially incompetent (as demonstrated in his product) and that his product is not worth purchasing on its own merits either?

    I don't mind removing in the face of real legal trouble but I'd rather not if it helps my visitors make a good choice of how to spend their money in a niche that I believe is oversaturated with pure charlatans.

    FYI: I actually had the affiliate link up on ALL of the products before I reviewed them because I was going to make a "here are the facts, you decide" type of site. But I decided in my disgust at the quality of several products to voice my actual opinion and removed aff links on all the products that I couldn't recommend.

    I'm eternally grateful for any advice you can offer.
    Vic
    This is much ado about nothing. If you, in good faith, actually reviewed his product and gave your honest opinion based upon that review, there's not a court in the civilized world (civil or otherwise) that would even let this past the complaint process -- let alone a verdict.

    Should you have attacked him personally? Probably not. It's always best to stick to the product cut-and-dry. However attacking the creator of the product might be considered poor taste at the very least; at the very most it's not actionable.

    I say "good luck" to the product's creator pursuing a libel claim against you from Australia. The man must file his complaint with a U.S. court that has jurisdiction over you. This guy is going to do that? It's possible -- anything is possible -- but it's doubtful.

    The guy is all charged up with emotion and the only card he has to play is the "take it down or I'm going to sue" option. People who are doers don't telegraph their moves. They file a lawsuit and go for the throat. Bluffers threaten you with everything under the sun, but at the end of they day they are just talk. Hot air.

    If it makes you feel any better, take out any personal attacks -- even though you're under no obligation to do so. And consider adding to your review the fact that the creator of the product contacted you. Not only would that add entertainment value to your site, it would give the product's creator a "fair" chance to have his views known on your review.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brock Poling
      I agree with the last poster. Here is what I would do.
      • Remove the personal attack from your original post and let the rest of the review stand.
      • Put up another post apologizing to him for making it personal. Be sincere not sarcastic
      • If he has not put a privacy clause on his note I would share his note (or excerpts of it) with your readers.
      • Restate that while you make every attempt to review products fairly and accurately these are still only your opinions

      After that, if he wants to hire a lawyer in the US and sue you let him go for it. You are certainly entitled to voice your opinions.

      I also doubt he will send you any more threatening emails knowing that you might post them on the review site and make him look weak and defensive. His own words will harm his reputation far more than anything you could say.

      I don't think the affiliate link will hurt you. Afterall you gave it a negative review DESPITE the fact that you could potentially make money from it.

      While I am not a lawyer I have been in business a long time and this feels like a classic intimidation move. I would take reasonable precautions and not worry about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by usuallyclueless View Post

      This is much ado about nothing.
      Not true. You do not know what was said, what the product was, the context, etc. so you have no basis for making this statement.

      Originally Posted by usuallyclueless View Post

      there's not a court in the civilized world (civil or otherwise) that would even let this past the complaint process -- let alone a verdict.
      From someone with 20 years experience in the uncivilized world called the US court system, I can emphatically state this is not true.

      Originally Posted by usuallyclueless View Post

      The man must file his complaint with a U.S. court that has jurisdiction over you.
      Without reviewing the contracts at issue you don't know this.


      Please do not give opinions with conclusions about legal issues on the forum.

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author GMD
        Banned
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        Not true. You do not know what was said, what the product was, the context, etc. so you have no basis for making this statement.



        From someone with 20 years experience in the uncivilized world called the US court system, I can emphatically state this is not true.



        Without reviewing the contracts at issue you don't know this.


        Please do not give opinions with conclusions about legal issues on the forum.

        .
        You're correct. I don't know what was "said." It's the internet, it was probably WRITTEN.

        This IS much ado about nothing. The product creator knows it and the peanut gallery knows it. Again, this guy from Australia (or the affiliate network) actually taking "legal action" against a person physical residing in the United States over this, is about as certain as Jim Morrison giving a concert next month.

        In my opinion, at the very worse, if this thing grew legs, the affiliate network would shut the OP down and then move on to the business of doing business.

        And you can't state as "fact" (as you've done) that the U.S. court system is "uncivilized". That's just your opinion. Which you're welcome to. Individual examples of incivility within any justice system does not warrant a blanket statement pro or con against any system in particular.

        Staying focused on what facts we do have at hand, either an Australian court or a U.S. court is going to have jurisdiction in any theoretical filing. Or none will. SCAMMERS usually can't even be brought to justice because of "jurisdictional" issues.

        Even if this guy in Australia was silly enough to consult an attorney in Australia over this, once he got wind of what the retainer would be along with the additional cash needed to fund such a trans jurisdictional escapade such as this, the poor fellow would be running for the Outback.

        Whether the OP's decision to ask for "legal advice" on a public forum is recommended or not, he did. Personally I think he didn't write what he was actually looking for correctly:

        It's more likely he wasn't looking for Bona fide legal advice rather he was looking for a sounding board to get other people's general read on this.

        And my general read on this is this: don't waste another second. Go make money.

        And no, this is not my "legal conclusion." Please consider it an open-ended discussion based primarily on common sense rather than "the law". :rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author Brock Poling
          I agree with UsuallyClueless. If he is going to sue you he is going to sue you. At this point he is trying to threaten you to remove what he considers to be a damaging review.

          For all the reasons stated above I seriously doubt he will follow through with it, and even if he does the chances are its not worth it to fund the legal bills to fight with you.
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  • You are excercising te freedom of speach. It's your opinon. If the product owner doesn't want to be criticized then don't have a product. Or usE a pen name..
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    • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
      Originally Posted by DanDasilva15YearOldIM View Post

      You are excercising te freedom of speach. It's your opinon. If the product owner doesn't want to be criticized then don't have a product. Or usE a pen name..
      This is a perfect example on why you shouldn't seek out legal advice in a public forum.

      You don't have "freedom of speech", not when it comes to reviewing a product whereby you have an affiliate link to it, states my attorney whom I have used many times over the years. Though he also stated more facts would be needed to really make an accurate assessment, which we don't have here.

      Though bear in mind, that when you are running a business, especially one that involves affiliate links, you have a lot less "freedom of speech" than you think.

      If the OP's review is objective and only states the facts, he is might be okay and he might not be okay. For example, writing "this person is incompetent" or other general statements like that is not being objective (even though it might be true). Writing something like "I used the product as directed for 90 days and I earned $2.48" is a more objective statement, though may not be objective enough. We are not privy to the affiliate agreement that the OP agreed to.

      Like Kindsvater stated (he's an attorney) you shouldn't seek legal advice in a public forum because you're really not going to get it. Most people here are not attorneys and even if they were, they can only give you an opinion on what you wrote, which is not enough information to really give you the advice you need; which is why the OP should seek out his own attorney.

      RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    And there's a very valid reason for posting legal questions on a public forum...That's to gather more info to take to a lawyer if you need to.

    However, I've been in a similar situation long ago. I researched libel/slander laws, replied to their lawyer showing I knew what I was talking about, and never heard a word back.

    Telling people that they need to see an lawyer every time something like this comes up can be very expensive. I personally wouldn't seek a lawyer in a case like this until I was actually served with court papers, unless I knew of a specific reason why I should be afraid.

    But I would spend a day researching all applicable laws to see if there was anything specific I had to worry about. Being educated about a legal subject is always a good thing and it allows you to be a better judge whether you have a good lawyer or not.

    Is this legal advice? No. But I (and others) do bring up points that should be brought up to a lawyer, should it get that far.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    yeah my 1st thought as well. .WHY?

    I don't think you helped your case by having an affiliate link to the product. If it's so crap how could you, in all conscience, sell it to your readers?
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  • Profile picture of the author CyberSorcerer
    Well personally speaking from my own experience, get yourself a lawyer.

    I speak out on a number of large computer companies, Microsoft being the biggest, and have had some issues here and there but my field is security research and open opinions are common against computer companies. But you still need a lawyer it doesn't help in a big way.

    I'm not up on the laws regarding reviews and such but my, coming from an outspoken type of person, is get good legal advice. My lawyers are worth their weight in gold let me tell you.
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  • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
    Thanks so much everybody for your advice! I really do appreciated it...

    I've read several suggestions that I should simply review the *product* and remove any ad hominem statements. While it's certainly clear to me that the creator isn't qualified to be selling "advice" in this field and I can confidently back that up with objective facts in any court, his product is the subject of my review and not he, himself.

    So, the end effect will be the same for my visitors, who'll infer that it's not a product that they should buy. This guy shouldn't be teaching or putting out products and I just wanted to warn people to stay away from his junk but they'll get the picture based on my product review.

    Thanks again, you guys are the best and I went and individually thanked every one of you for your contribution to this thread.

    Opinionatedly Yours,
    Vic Dorfman
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  • Profile picture of the author David McKee
    He's in Australia and you are in the US? Frankly I don't think he can do jack to you. Especially because you essentially called him a dumb a$$, who cares? What judge would care enough to even hear such a thing? Take off the comment and tell him to get lost.

    -DTM
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  • Profile picture of the author Shannon Herod
    The best advice I could give you on this topic… Don't take legal advice from forums.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brenny76065
      Personally, I would be asking myself if I feel passionate enough about the review to leave it there and risk the potential headache and expense of doing so. Legal standing aside, is it worth the potential hassle for you to leave it there?
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  • Profile picture of the author ymest
    Hi there,

    I am a lawyer by profession! If he wants to sue you he would have to initiate the claim in your country which is not easy. First of all, since he most probably has no idea what the court/ justice system is, good luck to him. Second, what are his chances of getting something? Third,do you think the guy would HAPPILY dish out some money to some lawyer in a foreign country for a claim he most probably knows nothing about?

    With the law just think " COMMON SENSE"....How reasonable would it be???? TOTALLY UNREASONNABLE! Look, I like in France which as you know is part of Europe and it takes 10 years to settle a simple car accident claim because of jurisdiction issues...imagine AUSTRALIA/US!!! Honestly, if I had the guy in front of me, I would laugh out loud seriously!


    Warrior Usuallyclueless has summed it all up!!! I would add that there is more chances of getting Maryline Monroe, MJ, Amy Winehouse and Elvis all on stage for a reunion than you being sued by an overzealous Mr nobody!!

    Ahhhhhggghh, I still love my job hey??

    Lol!

    Enjoy the rest of the day! You are safe!
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  • Profile picture of the author ymest
    Sorry, it is me again....

    Re this bit of your thread "This guy's in Australia and I'm in the US. Does he have any legal recourse against me for my stating the opinion that he's essentially incompetent (as demonstrated in his product) and that his product is not worth purchasing on its own merits either?"

    No legal recourse against you. This is not a defamation/label case + if ( totally unlikely) he decided to go ahead, more complications on the way....for him because you live in the USA but you have state laws etc... Oh what a mess for him! Honestly, I know this type of people, threats, threats and threats because they have no other choices! If he had really wanted to do it, it would have done it by surprise, which is the unfortunate golden rule in the legal profession!! So , please no worry, if he is incompetent he is, and that's it! He would have to prove he isn't....ahhaha!
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  • Profile picture of the author glasshalffull
    Hey Vic,

    I'd save yourself the trouble and the headache and pull it down. If you have it on your site, it's taking up valuable real estate that your faithful reader's eyes will be looking at.

    Give them another GOOD product that you can get behind and review it for them.

    If you don't put it in front of them, they don't have the option to buy it (from your site anyway).

    This way they have the chance to see/purchase a great product that can truly help them and their business.

    That'll be worth alot more to them in the long run.

    If you provide them ONLY tools that are of quality, it's hard for them to make a mistake when they do decide to buy...and you've done your job of providing them quality content to the best of your ability.

    good luck, man!
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelcorvin
    My opinion..remove the link, etc and move on. The time and money you invest into an attorney to be "right" you are taking time away from your business. You have to choose your battles and unless there is big money involved its not worth it.

    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    as stated legal action on his part is almost certainly not going to happen. and how many guys who create a sub par product are actually capable of even attempting to afford such a legal mess.

    its cheap and easy to send an email... a hell of a lot harder to back up an email with an action.

    as for those suggesting to remove the content. i dont run review sites, but when i hit one with all positive reviews, i run. i know that means they are all affiliate programs and the reviews are not "real"

    if you want to run a real review site, it is absolutely required to post good and bad reviews.

    big reviewers like consumer reports give negative reviews of products all the time. and sometimes they are negative reviews about products by big companies with serious money who could in fact fight the bad review. but they dont, because its not illegal at all to give a negative review.

    i would just be careful to steer clear of personal attacks and i would bet a large sum of money the only trouble you will have from him will be a few emails.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    This is not the place to come for legal advice. Do yourself a favor and ask a lawyer for his advice. You can often get a free half hour, but if not, then spend $100 or so. No one here can give you legal advice, and if they do they risk going to jail for it.

    Personally I would not be too afraid, but that is me.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by serena85 View Post

      My opinion is not to worry to much on this subject (but then again is just my opinion). There is just what you think about his product. There are many things that he must do before taking you to court.

      He must first prove that the product is his and it is registered with paid taxes up to date and so on........
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      This is complete nonsense. I have no idea where someone would get this idea, such as paying taxes, but it is not true.

      .
      This snip is better proof of why you shouldn't seek legal advice on a forum than any rant I could post...

      To be fair, though, Kurt has a good point. And a couple of posts following his do give some good directions for your own research. Just take what you get back with a huge grain of salt and do your own due diligence, which may include hiring competent legal counsel. 'Competent" in this case is a lawyer familiar with the issues, both in term of slander/libel and international litigation, as opposed to the 1-800 personal injury types you see advertising on Dr. Phil.

      One thing in your favor, though...

      [Standard IANAL CYA disclaimer]

      As expensive as it may be for you to get the facts, it's likely to be just as expensive for the other party. And the threat of "I'll sue" is often just that.
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  • Profile picture of the author sturmbro629
    i wouldn't be worried if I were you, but then again I know nothing about laws like these, haha. Remove the creator's criticism.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kierkegaard
    The guy just wants you to take down the bad review. You probably hurt his feelings and he wants to get back at you by scaring you a little bit.

    From what you've said it sounds like he could have a case:
    • He could claim that your words were defamatory
    • That you were referring to him
    • And that you published them to a 3rd party (your readers)
    He could claim that you were holding him up to ridicule or that your words are likely to injure him in his profession or trade.

    However, you have several defences. If you were not stating as a fact that the man was whatever you called him but expressing your honestly held opinon. If the matter was in the public interest. If the damage was trivial. If you removed the offending parts quickly. All these things work in your favour. And make it very likely he will pursue this since his pay-off won't justify the enormous amount of hassle involved in suing you.

    This isn't legal advice but just to put your mind a little more at ease.

    In future, just stick to the facts with bad reviews and forget about reviewing the person behind the product
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  • Profile picture of the author Mac Deyak
    first off,

    get a lawyer, don't take anyone's recommendations here as most of us aren't legal professionals.

    But since you have cease and desist, i assume the nature of your review was rather libelous, so remove the review, and rewrite another review that objectively questions the product, not the person.

    But yes, get a lawyer, even legal aid...
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    • Profile picture of the author ymest
      Originally Posted by Mac Deyak View Post

      first off,

      get a lawyer, don't take anyone's recommendations here as most of us aren't legal professionals.

      But since you have cease and desist, i assume the nature of your review was rather libelous, so remove the review, and rewrite another review that objectively questions the product, not the person.

      But yes, get a lawyer, even legal aid...
      I respectfully disagree with you! He doesn't need a lawyer....yet and probably never! There are lawyers who have responded and provided FREE LEGAL ADVICE! You don't need Benjamin Brafman to answer this case, which by the way is not a case!


      You hire a lawyer when you receive a court order if you want to defend it and he hasn't so far...and probably never will.

      or...

      You hire a lawyer to initiate a claim yourself....

      If he hires a lawyer now, what has he got to present? Nothing? The only thing for sure is that he will have to pay for something that is freely available! People think that the law is very hard to understand but most of it is COMMON SENSE!

      So, I disagree with you entirely because if he takes your advice and seeks someone then he may end up with a bill that he should never have had to pick up in the first place. So, this makes even WORSE ADVICE than what you have meant in your thread!

      Lawyers should be used as a last resort and 60% of those visiting lawyers have no case but still end up paying for advice that is available and more importantly that simply requires common sense.

      Don't take any offence, I am just saying considering I know the law.

      Yoan
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  • Profile picture of the author Kierkegaard
    As I understand it the guy has merely sent an email.
    No lawyers are involved on either side.

    No-one actually is giving legal advice. Saying 'get a lawyer' and 'I don't think the guy is serious' is not, by any stretch of the imagination, intended as legal advice.

    If this guy's lawyers get in touch then get yourself a lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author TolyZ
    You honestly think that the guy will be able to do something because you said his product is sh*t? What's wrong with you?
    I can run around screaming Microsoft is a POS this and that, you think they care about it? If it was the case, lawyers will be busier then the two dogs F***ing.
    Just look at the web sites like Paypalsucks.com or Ebaysucks.com , do you see them getting sued?
    I'd just laugh in his face ... honestly, you have nothing to worry about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Noel 100K
    Any legal issues should be dealt with by a professional lawyer if I were you. Find a lawyer and ask him for the best move.
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  • Profile picture of the author fivealive
    Ignore him. You have not broken any laws, and this is a civil matter to boot. I didn't read all the replies but the first saying saying hire a lawyer is blowing this WAY out of proportion.

    I have had a large corp come after me with cease and desist letters demanding that I hand over domains to them because they thought I was causing buyer confusion. I responded by telling them to take me to court and prove it, it was the last I ever heard from them and I still own the domains.
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  • Profile picture of the author activetrader
    Why are you so worried about it? Has he filed a lawsuit? Has his lawyer contacted you?

    He hasn't really done anything whatsoever except threatened you verbally. Wait till he takes action - which he probably won't (it doesn't sound like he has a cause of action, no pun intended)
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  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    Shame there are not more lawyers lurking around to give their professional advice for free.

    P.S. IANAL
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  • Profile picture of the author barache
    wow, so much stress over one review! I would just alter the review to satisfy him or take it down. Is it really worth any additional aggravation?
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesGw
    He'll usually have to prove that you defamed him if you say something negative. Saying something bad about somebody doesn't necessarily mean that you're defaming them. That's the key thing there. He has to go out of his way to prove what you said was false. If his product is that bad, then he might have a hard time proving that what you said was false.

    I'm not sure how this works internationally, though.

    Also, not a lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    IANAL but...

    I'd tell him to pound sand or ignore him.

    Your personal opinion of the creator does deal w/ the product just like support does. I had an issue, yesterday, and the site owner blamed me. Even if it was partly or solely my fault, the fact that he blamed me says more about his company and would make me steer others away.

    IMHO he just wants the review removed because of sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    A few random thoughts:

    While usually these types of issues often do not amount to anything, you don't want to force it to be a problem. Obviously, without knowing what was said it is impossible to say - aww, it's nothing - or OMG you need to do ____ immediately.

    The last thing you want to do is force someone to spend money hiring an attorney or to file a lawsuit. Now they're looking at you for reimbursement. So the idea that if you were not sued an issue should be ignored is flat wrong. Once you're sued you are in the legal system and it can be quite expensive to extricate yourself. Your goal should be to avoid a lawsuit.

    As for expense being a bar to someone in another country suing -- maybe. No one has seen potentially relevant contracts and if they have attorney's fees provisions.

    Depending on contract terms and/or circumstances, you might find yourself sued in Australia, probably defaulting, and then spending a lot of money trying to prevent a massive judgment from being enforced in the US.

    Depending on the contract term, an attorney may have a lot of incentive to pursue you to the four corners of the earth.

    I have also seen plenty of cases where money is not an impediment.

    I once saw someone plunk down $100,000 for an attorney on a $1500 case. He wanted to teach someone a lesson and money was not an issue. It can be a devastating mistake to "assume" something will or will not happen. One wrong assumption can put you in bankruptcy.

    Defamation claims can be particularly expensive. We don't know what was said, but a few mentioned defenses mentioned in this thread may not be applicable.

    Which highlights something important - always get legal advice from (1) a litigator, and (2) someone with experience on the issue.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author psresearch
      In addition to the standard "this isn't legal advice", "get an attorney", "what's the contract", "what's the jurisdiction" questions already brought up...it's one thing to be able to PROVE a product doesn't do what it says (depending on the nature of the product)...but PROVING that someone is "incompetent" to legally back up your allegation I would think would be quite complex.
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post


      I once saw someone plunk down $100,000 for an attorney on a $1500 case. He wanted to teach someone a lesson and money was not an issue. It can be a devastating mistake to "assume" something will or will not happen. One wrong assumption can put you in bankruptcy.
      Bingo.

      Even on this forum you see lesser examples of this. Someone gets pissed over a trivial amount of money and wastes an incredible amount of money or time resources trying to make someone else's life miserable.

      People do incredible things when they're pissed off. One can't always assume that the other guy is a calm, rational sort. He might be a rich, insane freak.
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  • Profile picture of the author davezan
    OP and other lawyers, look this up:

    Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v Gutnick - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And be perhaps amazed.
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    • Profile picture of the author GMD
      Banned
      Originally Posted by davezan View Post

      OP and other lawyers, look this up:

      Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v Gutnick - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      And be perhaps amazed.
      Right.

      Don't forget this firm, too:

      Dewey Cheatem & Howe
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      • Profile picture of the author davezan
        Originally Posted by usuallyclueless View Post

        Right.

        Don't forget this firm, too:

        Dewey Cheatem & Howe
        Well, between a seemingly fake firm and a real-life case (with a link to the actual
        decision), which do you suppose is more relevant to the OP's situation?

        Anyway, it's ultimately up to the OP. I just hope he won't do something that can
        turn out wrong, just because an anonymous Internet user said so.
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  • Profile picture of the author NicholasCollins
    My advice would be just to make nice with him and remove it unless your making $xx,xxx from it, if not remove it. Not worth the worry and hassles in my opinion. I hate the word LEGAL and LAWYER and it only causes stress and worry so I simply remove it, notify him and move on to greener and more positive things.
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    • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
      Thanks all,

      I removed the ad hominem stuff and any link to his products but left up the review of the product itself. He thanked me, bid me adieu and that's that.

      To tell the truth, if money and being sued weren't concerns, I'd expose not only him but a WHOLE MESS of charlatans in my niche (singing).

      I never worked so hard and researched so much to become truly good at something in my whole life (except maybe IM...still working on it!) and having been a student of quack teachers myself and having to fix so many young voices that were damaged by other so-called "teachers", I take this thing personally.

      The amount of misinformation, baseless rules and brazenly displayed ignorance in the music education world parallels the IM sphere and though, being a realist, you realize that wading through a bunch of garbage information just to arrive at a few nuggets of actual IM wisdom comes with the territory, your annoyance at having been misled down dead end roads and into buying worthless courses indicates that you're normal, human and value your limited time on this earth.

      Incompetence + target market's ignorance + a little IM savvy = a very dangerous thing. There's all this talk about making the internet a better place and it's valid because the internet is the new high school, university and all-purpose library of an increasingly large part of the world.

      I'm not saying one should spend all one's time exposing frauds in their industry or suggesting that everybody adopt a victim mentality (quite the opposite) but when is enough enough!?

      I don't really know where I'm going with all this, it's an open source rant. I hope it resonated with some of you but you know what? ...I'm going to get off my soapbox and go make some money now! Talk is cheap you know?

      Thanks for the advice Warriors, keep doing your thaaang. See you in the VIPeezy..

      Vic
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      • Profile picture of the author David McKee
        Originally Posted by vtotheyouknow View Post

        Thanks all,

        I removed the ad hominem stuff and any link to his products but left up the review of the product itself. He thanked me, bid me adieu and that's that.

        To tell the truth, if money and being sued weren't concerns, I'd expose not only him but a WHOLE MESS of charlatans in my niche (singing).

        ...

        Vic
        We should attempt to sing like Geddy Lee back in the 70's - Sorry, I couldn't reisist

        This was a great thread and I am glad you stuck to your guns!

        -DTM
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  • Profile picture of the author Affililancer
    I'd leave the review up, take out the section regarding his competence and move on with my life. Pretty simple really....

    Originally Posted by vtotheyouknow View Post

    Hi Warriors,

    I run a review site, except on this particular site I actually TRY the products and give my honest opinion about them based on my expertise in the niche, having worked in that industry for a long time.

    I reviewed one guy's product and in addition to listing the features, also recommended my visitors to steer clear of it and I called into question the competence of its creator.

    Long story short, the guy reached out to me and told me to remove it. I removed my affiliate link and told him that I owe it to my visitors to give them an objective look at what they're paying for (especially since 99% of "review" sites don't do any reviewing whatsoever) and that the review stays where it is. In his next email he threatens me with legal action.

    This guy's in Australia and I'm in the US. Does he have any legal recourse against me for my stating the opinion that he's essentially incompetent (as demonstrated in his product) and that his product is not worth purchasing on its own merits either?

    I don't mind removing in the face of real legal trouble but I'd rather not if it helps my visitors make a good choice of how to spend their money in a niche that I believe is oversaturated with pure charlatans.

    FYI: I actually had the affiliate link up on ALL of the products before I reviewed them because I was going to make a "here are the facts, you decide" type of site. But I decided in my disgust at the quality of several products to voice my actual opinion and removed aff links on all the products that I couldn't recommend.

    I'm eternally grateful for any advice you can offer.
    Vic
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  • Profile picture of the author ebusinesstutor
    A couple of things here, some of which have been seen before.

    1. You need legal advice from a lawyer, not from your peers.
    2. In future, I would suggest just reviewing the product and leaving out any comments about the creator of the product. This would lessen defamation. If your review clearly states that this is your opinion and others mileage may vary, this will help.
    3. If you are an affiliate, you may be in violation of the affiliate contract you signed when you signed up. This may give him additional leverage over you. Something to check out and let your lawyer know.

    I have been hit a few times by people in the US claiming I was violating their trademark on certain things. I always write back asking them to send me the documentation showing their Canadian trademark registration (my business is in Canada). Not one has ever done this.

    There are additional costs to legal action in other countries, so this will stop some people, but you should adjust how you word your reviews as I suggested.
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