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Can a business sue over a bad review?

If you own a business in Colorado, you know just how important customer satisfaction can be. This is especially true when it comes to review sites like Yelp, which give patrons the power to let their opinions (good or bad) be known to future customers. Some business owners have even tried to sue over negative reviews, a practice which has come under fire as of late.

According to Eater.com, consumers are well within their rights to leave negative feedback on review sites without fear of legal reprisal. In fact, recent legislation has addressed the issue of businesses suing over negative reviews, erring on the side of the consumer in such legal battles. This legislation states that consumers can feel free to leave their honest opinions on the service afforded by businesses, which falls under free speech laws.

In many cases threats of lawsuits are frivolous and will ultimately not hold any power in court. However, business owners may feel that even the threat of a lawsuit will be enough to deter consumers from painting a business in a bad light, no matter how accurate a depiction their review is. In this case, businesses that do threaten legal action could actually face reprisal themselves for attempt to silence well-meaning critics.

Yelp itself is hitting back at such businesses by adding verbiage on their profiles that alerts consumers to such practices. In this case, businesses that engage in such “abuses” of the legal system could achieve a reputation for stifling consumer opinion, which in turn could affect their ability to offer goods and services.

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