Can a small business sue me for libel/slander because of a bad on-line review?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a small business sue me for libel/slander because of a bad on-line review?

I was unsatisfied with a moving company’s service, so I voiced my bad experiences on a couple of review sites. None of what I said was untrue, but very specific to my experiences. The company called and yelled at me and threatened to take legal action if I didn’t take my reviews down. They said calling them “unprofessional” was false, along with other claims I made. Do they actually have a case against me?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There's the legal answer and the practical one.

Legally, if a public statement is either true or an opinion, it is not defamation, since defamation is the making of a false statement of fact. Generally speaking, "unprofessional" would be considered an opinion, since what one person considers unprofessional, another would not--it is a value judgment, not a fact.

Practically, if what you have stated is at all close to being factual statements, the business can probably at least initiate a lawsuit and force you to defend yourself. If it's not worth running that risk, you should probably delete the reviews. Even if you you'd ultimately win, is it worth being sued just to voice you opinion?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption