Yet Another Online Gripes Site Sued

from the will-hopefully-get-thrown-out-again dept

Time and time again we hear stories of various online “gripes” sites getting sued. Every time it’s the same basic story. Some company that some person complained about gets upset about the complaint and sues the site. Of course, in every one of these cases, the lawsuit gets tossed out, because the site itself is protected thanks to CDA section 230 safe harbors that protect the site from liability for content written by users. Yet, the lawsuits just keep on coming. This latest one is a little different. It’s been filed by a car dealer against the website, which hosts some complaints about his dealership. The dealer has actually sued twice before, only to pull both lawsuits right before they were about to be tossed. This time, though, he swears things are different, though it’s still not at all clear how he gets around the section 230 issue (answer: he probably doesn’t). However, to take the claims a bit further than the usual complaints, he’s alleging two points: first that the domain name is deceptive in that it confuses users into thinking it is associated with various state government offices of consumer affairs — making the site seem more “official.” He also complains that the site is simply designed as a lead generator for class action lawyers, which the site owner disputes, noting that they make no money from such lawsuits and receives no referral fees. It’s difficult to see how either of these issues gets around the core issue, which is that it’s still not the site itself that’s liable. If the guy wants to sue those who posted the complaints, he could go after them — but the site itself is immune.

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Comments on “Yet Another Online Gripes Site Sued”

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Kris from Alaska says:

Sued for Opinions

It’s now common practice to sue for having a bad experience with a company and reporting it to others? Since when? Last I checked, there’s a very large company based entirely off of reviews of other companies (Consumer Reports), which happens to be a very useful tool for someone getting ready to go into the market for something they don’t have much experience in. America is getting drastically more ridiculous by the day, and it seems other countries are following closely in our footsteps.

Mike says:

Whaa Whaa Whaa

I’m sick to death of idiots such as the car dealership owner, who thinks a law suit is appropriate when someone happens to get angry enough when wronged, to let the world know about it. I don’t usually read, but i’m going over there now to make sure I get the name of the car dealership, so i can make sure my wife & I don’t go there next week when we go shopping for a new car. Hey.. I just thought of something.. could now be a defendant in this guys fantasy law suits.. I just got one thing to say to him.. OOps.. I already said it in my subject line. I’ll only add to that, “Get a Life & Stop ripping people off, and maybe nice things will be said about your business.” Maybe the guy will get lucky on his third try, and the judge thrown’s him in the slammer for abusing our court’s time/money

Anonymous Coward says:

Wait a sec...

Does “word-of-mouth advertising” sound familiar? As a person who has a BA in Public Relations and Advertising and works in Advertising, these suits just irritate me. Why worry about customer service or quality of service/product? You’re just going to sue the customer (or Gripe Site) if they don’t like it.

One of the first things you learn in an advertising class is Word-of-Mouth advertising can make a business or it can break a business. Have you ever had a bad experience somewhere and told everyone about it? Instead of needing to actually see or call these people to tell them, you put it up on the web, a Gripe Site, for the world to see. All the positive advertising in the world cannot make up for lousy experiences by vocal customers.

Lawsuits for Slander? Libel? Yes. Word-of-Mouth Advertising? No.

andrew from queens says:

you guys are all morons, attorneys only understand one thing….sue. this site is a bunch of attorney’s trying to sue and now it’s happening to them. bottom feeders have to dive down deeper to find lawyers, it’s a boys club where they all charge clients for time wasted. in the end they are the only one’s who make out

Jacob says:

Consumer Affairs is misleading and lazy

I own a business that wound up being posted on Consumer Affairs. The complaint states that the customer did not receive their registration papers for a puppy. When I discovered the complaint I sent James Hood of C Affairs proof in the form of a customer signed Certified Letter from the USPS documenting that we had delivered the papers. James Hood will not remove the false post nor will he post our response. If you check this guy out you will see he is not sincere.
He is wreckless with his posts and his lack of good faith will wind up causing a change in the laws which he now hides behind. It is a shame. It reminds me of the statement “There is not freedom without responsibilty.”

Eric says:

Consumer Affairs is misleading and lazy is a crooked site out to defraud businesses and the public. They posted a negative review of my travel business and the review was from a tour 3 years ago in which 28 of 31 people loved it but 3 ladies together decided they did not and posted a review on another site. Consumeraffairs plagiarized that site for their site and when I tried to post a rebuttal to merely state the truth, they would not post it. Then when I called them and asked why they asked me for $3000 for the right to post my rebuttal! Clients of mine tried to post positive reviews of their experiences on the site and each was denied and I was told positive reviews can not be posted without the company first paying $3000 for the tight to have positive reviews posted.
The site is a fraudulent scam.

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