Can I Get Charged with Slander for Leaving Bad Clear Choice Reviews?

I had a truly horrific experience with dental implants and have been leaving bad Clear Choice reviews on a number of sites. I’d rather not get into the specifics of it here because my story is quite unique and this question might be traced back to me. That said, I received a phone call the other day and was told I needed to take down my posts- that they were illegal and I would get sued for slander if I left them up. I’m furious that they would low, but I’m also afraid that I could be in real trouble over this. It’s not so much that I think they have a case. They don’t. As far as I can tell, it’s within my rights to say whatever I want to say in my Clear Choice reviews, as long as I don’t misrepresent myself or lie. The problem is, they’re a huge company with deep pockets and I cannot afford to fight them if they come after me. However, the threats, on top of the experience I had in the office, have strengthened my resolve to spread the word. Am I in the right here or should I pull my posts to avoid a legal issue?

Thank you, Anonymous

 

Dear Anonymous,

If you have a legal question, it’s always best to talk to a lawyer. A legal professional will have the most current info and will gather the details necessary to provide you with an accurate assessment of your situation.

First, it’s odd that they would call you. Particularly with large companies, the first contact you would have is a formal letter from their lawyer. A small business might slip and give you a verbal warning, but a large company isn’t likely to do this. This is a red flag, which could mean that you might not have been speaking with someone who represents that company. If you have a record of the phone number from the call, cross reference it to make sure it’s really from Clear Choice. If it is someone from the practice, you can also check to see if it’s even someone in a place of authority to make a legal call. Likely, the person you spoke with either has no authority or was not affiliated with the company.

Secondly, this kind of lawsuit would be called a defamation of character suit or libel because it involves written words. If you had spoken the words, it would be a slander case. If you used that word, it isn’t an issue, but if the caller that word, it’s a sign they probably don’t understand the law.

Lastly, if you’re relaying the truth and giving your personal opinion, you’re typically not liable. However, you have to watch your word choice. There’s a chance a lawsuit might stick if you said, “These people are criminals,” and they haven’t been found guilty of any crime. However, if you can actually prove each person you reference has a criminal record, then you could write that. You probably couldn’t legally say, “They stole my money,” if you made a down payment and signed an agreement and their actions were part of the agreement you made, although there are some circumstances in which you could make that claim.

Again, you should definitely speak with an attorney if you’re concerned. You can also read the full Consumer Review Fairness Act for further details.

 

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca, a prosthodontist who provides general dentistry services for the whole family as well as expert dental implant care. Patients who are dissatisfied with Chicago Clear Choice reviews or who would like a second opinion on dental implants may call 630-848-2010 to schedule an appointment with Dr. LaVacca.

Naperville Dental Specialists

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