Does a bad Yelp review constitute libel?

Many people utilize social media to figure out whether to go to a particular business. The most popular of these review sites is Yelp. Every month, the site sees about 142 million unique users post reviews for restaurants, gyms, retail shops and more. 

One of the worst things for a business owner to discover is an incredibly bad review on Yelp. There are ways to handle these types of reviews, and they do not always necessitate legal action. Entrepreneurs should always attempt to resolve problems internally before getting legal assistance. There are genuine times when someone posts libel on Yelp, but most of the time, it is merely an opinion.

False statement of fact

For a libel case to go to court, the business owner needs to show the customer posted a false statement of fact in lieu of an opinion. A false statement would include posting a review where the user describes finding a dead animal in the food. The business owner may know for a fact this is false, and under this circumstance, a libel case is more likely. However, if a person merely states the food was gross, then it is not libel. This is because it is an opinion. 

Review brought hatred and ridicule

Additionally, libel needs to involve the business owner suffering in some capacity. In the above example, the business may receive protestors outside the store due to the presence of a dead animal. This will bring undue hardship onto the employer, and he or she would be in the right to bring legal charges against the reviewer. 

Most of the time, reviewers stick to opinions on Yelp. There is a good way for employers to react to bad Yelp reviews, and it does not require lawyers. A business owner should simply reach out to the reviewer and see if he or she can do anything to rectify the situation. 


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