Can a business stop me from posting about a negative experience?

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Can a business stop me from posting about a negative experience?

Recently, I was harassed, at length by a wedding vendor over a few simple requests to fix issues with their services. Afterward, I posted an honest review of the experience, and it cost them a couple clients. My post wasn’t libelous, defamatory, or slanderous just an honest account of my experience. Additionally, I have paid in full for the service that I had issues with. The owner threatened to break our contract but return our deposit. We ended up agreeing to breaking the

contract in exchange for the refunded deposit. However, the owner is now holding my deposit ransom until I remove this post. Can he demand the removal of that post? And is he allowed to prohibit me from posting honest reviews of my experience in the future?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Business Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

He can "ask" for anything he wants (anyone can ask anything); but in terms of legal rights--
1) As you appear to know, defamation is the posting of untrue factual statements that damage another's reputation. True facts are not defamation; something that is clearly an opinion, not a factual allegation (people are legally entitled to their opinions) is not defamation, either. If you did not defame him, he has no grounds for legal action and you certainly may post (unless, and only if, you had agreed, such as in a settlement agreement or the terms for services, that you would not post anything like this--such a contractual agreement is enforceable).
2) If he agreed to return your deposit and is refusing to do so, you could sue him, for breach of that agreement, to get it. 
The above is the law. Practically, why not remove the post if it will get him to return the money without litigation? Is posting your opinion so important to you that it would be worth going to court (suing him for the deposit) over?


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