Some business competitors engage in unethical or illegal activity to try and gain a competitive advantage. This often involves using the anonymity of the internet to attack a legitimate business with defamatory comments or claims. Not only is this the wrong way to run a business, but it may also be illegal. The wronged party may be able to file a lawsuit for money damages.
If your business has been subjected to defamatory online statements, you may have a claim against the offender for libel, slander, or unfair trade practices. The internet defamation lawyers at the Katz Law Group understand how to investigate internet defamation claims, identify those responsible, and file a lawsuit for damages against the competitor.
Business Competitor Online Defamation
A business competitor could use any number of tactics to harm the business reputation of another company. This can range from making up negative reviews, making negative statements about the company's practices, or even making personal attacks on a professional or business owner and their family. Unfortunately, the internet provides some level of protection or anonymity for many people to engage in an activity they would never do face-to-face.
Online defamation can involve a small number of negative or libelous comments made by a single, unethical competitor. The competitor may also engage family member or their own employees to spread additional defamatory content. In some cases, a competitor may turn to overseas providers, bots, or shady companies that are paid to write fake reviews or negative comments. Occasionally, competitors will talk about their competition with a journalist in an attempt to defame them in a news article.
Online Defamation Claims
Online defamation claims by competitors generally involve publishing false statements (libel) or making false verbal or video statements (slander). Libel or slander claims can be filed in civil court to seek damages. Damages in a slander or libel lawsuit can include money damages related to the loss in business, harm to reputation, punitive damages, cost of remediation, and attorneys' fees.
Massachusetts Unfair Trade Practices
When a competitor engages in internet defamation towards another company, the offending business may be engaging in unfair trade practices. Under Massachusetts law, unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive business practices are unlawful.
Under the Consumer Protection Law of Massachusetts, Section 11 of Chapter 93A, a business can file a lawsuit or submit a settlement offer before going to court when another business has engaged in unfair or deceptive business practices. This law provides for double or triple damages when the plaintiff can prove the defendant knowingly and willfully violated the Consumer Protection Law and refused to grant relief in bad faith.
Removing Damaging Content
If there is only limited defamatory content or the claims are not especially damaging, the business can still request the defamation be removed from social media platforms or other websites. Many of these apps or websites have a process for reporting and removing defamatory of false content. Talk to your Massachusetts online defamation attorney about how to remove defamatory content, prevent further harm from deceptive competitors, and file a claim for money damages.
The Katz Law Group: Massachusetts Lawyers Fighting Internet Defamation by Other Businesses
The Katz Law Group has nearly 40 years of experience representing businesses in Marlborough, Framingham, Worcester, across Massachusetts and throughout New England. This includes going after individuals and companies who have engaged in slander, libel, defamation, and unfair trade practices to hold them responsible for the damage they have caused to the business' brand. If your business is facing online or anonymous defamation, contact them online today or call them at (508) 480-8202.