A recent High Court case serves as a reminder that businesses are not powerless in the face of baseless and defamatory reviews posted online.
A former client of a solicitors firm has been ordered to pay £25,000 plus legal costs in relation to a review of the firm posted on Trustpilot. The review described the firm as "a total waste of money" and a "scam solicitor", allegations which the Claimant said had led to a substantial fall in the number of new enquiries and instructions it received.
The Court noted there was a "complete lack of any credible material" to support the allegations and found that the Defendant's "truth" defence had no real prospect of succeeding at trial.
As well as ordering the Defendant to pay damages, the Court also made an order requiring Trustpilot to remove the defamatory review.
The full Judgment can be read here: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2021/85.html
Finding for the firm, judge Master David Cook said it was "beyond any dispute" the words in the review "had a clear tendency to put people off dealing with the claimant firm". And Mr Waymouth had "never fully articulated" why he was unhappy with Summerfield Browne's work.