If you’ve been cheated by a company and want to warn others, is it legal to create a website with a name of the company title andthe word”sucks”?

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If you’ve been cheated by a company and want to warn others, is it legal to create a website with a name of the company title andthe word”sucks”?

I was doing business with a company in China. I created my own electric guitar designs and sent them my cad drawings. I placed 2 orders with them. The quality was fair but not great; I had some issues which they did not correct. I had to eat the cost of 1/4 of my guitars because they were not sellable and the company would not do anything about it. The worst part is I recently found out that they are selling my designs to other companies and denying that I ever sent them drawings at all. I don’t know if legally there is anything I can do but if I can at least give them some bad publicity.

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is a dangerous thing to do--it could rebound against you.

Defamation is the public making of an untrue factual assertion which damages another's reputation. Clearly, posting online is "public." While opinions or value judgments (e.g. "you suck") are not defamation and not actionable, anything that may be a fact could result in a lawsuit. For example, suppose you  say the company refused to correct their mistakes. They claim that they would have except they did not make a mistake--you provided them with bad drawings. Now there is a factual issue, and they could potentially sue you in defamation. Even if you win, you lose, because you had to expend time and money to defend yourself.


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