Small businesses often live or die by word-of-mouth, as roughly 86% of U.S. consumers consult online reviews before patronizing a local business, according to a BrightLocal survey. So what happens if you post a negative review of a business and the business-owner tries to fight back, or even tries to silence you with a lawsuit? It’s a trend that’s become more common as more and more people share their opinions in online forums and discussion boards, from Yelp (which features over 100 million reviews from users) to the comments sections of businesses’ social media pages. In July, a Yelp user in Florida named Tom Lloyd told “CBS This Morning” that he was left with more than $25,000 in legal bills after a veterinary practice sued him for defamation over a negative Yelp review. In the review, Lloyd recounted how his dog died at the animal hospital waiting for a surgeon who never showed up. And Lloyd is not alone. In 2018, a tourist attraction in Branson, Missouri called Bigfoot on the Strip sued a Kansas man and his daughter over a relatively tepid review posted on TripAdvisor (the man initially gave the business a rating of three out of five… Read full this story
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