The consequences of one negative Amazon review might have just cost a company its business.
Earlier this week, a man took to Reddit asking for legal advice, saying a law firm was threatening to sue him for writing a negative review about an Internet router.
The company that sold that router, New Jersey-based Mediabridge, through the law firm, claimed that the review contained several assertions that were “false, defamatory, libelous, and slanderous.” The reviewer claimed the company faked positive reviews and stole the design of their product from another company.
Companies have been able to successfully sue over false online reviews in the past.
In the days after the law firm made its threat, the man who wrote the Amazon review has taken down his original review and his post on Reddit. But that’s not the end of this for the company.
Leaders at Mediabridge now say that Amazon has revoked the company’s seller account, preventing the sale of Mediabridge products on Amazon.com — the only site through which it currently sells its products. That might mean the loss of jobs for many of the company’s employees, the company claims.
“All of this is due to misinformation which was blown out of proportion by individuals on a social media site who acted first, before questioning whether the information they had was accurate or not,” representatives of the company said in a statement. “This is the reality of this situation. Remember that there is a human aspect to this story.”
Mediabridge still defends the actions it took against the Amazon user, who had originally claimed the company was bullying him and threatening to sue for a simple negative review.
The Amazon user has not actually been sued. Not yet, at least. He has been warned and asked to correct what Mediabridge and its lawyers called “untrue and damaging statements.” And the company is not threatening to sue just over a negative review, representatives say. Companies receive many negative reviews for their products, and to sue over them would be “silly,” Mediabridge admits. The company just took issue with perceived falsehoods in the review itself.
“This was done in the most public forum, and in the very spot where our products are displayed,” the company continued in a statement. “It would be like seeing a sign at a Ford dealership, right next to a Mustang that says, ‘This car was made with child labor.’ “
Apparently, Mediabridge has had to deal with these sort of statements in the past, the company says, and spent two years defending previous allegations in separate reviews. For Mediabridge, it is “within our rights to take steps to protect our reputation” when “an army attacks us on the Internet.”
But that “army” might have just cost Mediabridge its future.