Online Review Trouble

(WSVN) - He was not happy with a company and wrote an online review. Many of us have done it, but in this case, after the review came a cease and desist letter threatening to sue over that review. That’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It started simply for Yair. He wanted to replace a couple of things in his house.

Yair Kagan, got cease and desist letter: “I had a few people come over, take measurements of the different doors and windows, and they sent me quotes.”

One company’s online quote came in at $6,394, lower than the others, so Yair called to hire them.

Yair Kagan: “And then things went south.”

Yair says a fellow got on the phone.

Yair Kagan: “And he said, ‘OK, that will be $9,000.’ I was immediately taken back, because it was almost 50% more expensive.”

When Yair told him the quote was nearly $3,000 higher, the employee said, “We emailed you and talked to you about the price change.”

Yair Kagan: “And I said, ‘I would remember if someone called me, and I spoke to them, and they haven’t.’ I’m looking over my emails, and I don’t have any emails.”

Yair says the employee wasn’t through.

Yair Kagan: “And he’s like, ‘You’ve should’ve known they communicated with you,’ basically accusing me of lying. At that point, I felt very attacked, and I was upset.”

Yair then went on Google to write a review, explaining what happened, adding, “They refused to honor the original quote and almost tried to blame me for a quote they sent.”

Yair Kagan: “There is nothing in this review that is not true.”

The company owner replied online writing, “The original quote that was sent was incorrect due to a computer error,” and “The review shown on Google is incorrect,” but they were not through with Yair.

Yair Kagan: “Here is a cease and desist. An official letter from a law company.”

The letter on behalf of the company accused Yair of posting “false negative reviews,” continues to “harass the company” and “threatened to post additional negative reviews.”

Yair Kagan: “‘And if you dare post anything else, we will sue you for defamation.'”

Yair says he stated the facts and just offered his opinion of the way he was treated.

Yair Kagan: “And they’re trying to bully me.”

Well Howard, you read Yair’s review. You read the attorney’s cease and desist letter. Is Yair in the right or wrong?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “He is right and does not have to take his review down and can even post more reviews if he wants to. The reason? He merely stated facts and offered his opinion, and legally, he has the right to express his opinion.”

We contacted Florida Impact Windows and Doors.

The owner, Scott Altman, told me, “We are a honest company that has done thousands of great jobs over the years. We had one employee who made a mistake on a quote, and we never implied that Yair was a liar.”

Adding, “I don’t understand how he can post a negative review since we never even had a contract with him.”

Altman said he did not demand that Yair take his post down, but sent the cease and desist letter because Yair told them he would post more negative reviews.

Howard Finkelstein: “This is a new area of the law because companies have found that negative online reviews hurt their business. Therefore, many attorneys are sending these cease and desist letters hoping to intimidate the author of the review and get them to stop posting or take the review down.”

With the law on his side, Yair says his review will stay online.

Yair Kagan: “I will not take my review down! And I stand behind my review. Everything that is there is 100% the truth.”

Howard said you can state the facts and your opinion in an online review, but you cannot make false accusations.

For example, you can’t call a business a bunch of crooks unless you can document it. Just stick to the facts, your opinion and leave out the name calling in your online reviews.

Want someone to cease aggravating you? Tired of them being out of line? Get online and let us review it, because we are positive our posts are legal.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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