Threatened by on-line seller over my bad review

I reported my negative experience with a Spanish on-line seller of computer goods on a Spanish on-line reseller ratings site, only telling the exact details of what occurred and giving them a low rating.

The other day, two months later, I received an email threatening me with a defamation and libel suit because I had revealed details of my phone conversation with their on-line assistance without their express permission.

I am wondering if I should just ignore them or follow up my review with an account of their threats. How can a reseller ratings site exist if negative comments related to their service are not permitted and subject to harassment and lawsuits?

I imagine the laws of each country are different.

Since this is a specific personal problem, let’s move it from GQ to IMHO.

samclem Moderator

As someone who’s not in your shoes, I’d say, post an update to your review. I’d sure as hell want to steer clear of any business that threatens their customers like this. Besides, I’m not really sure what they have to sue you over.
Speaking as a non-lawyer, who doesn’t know anything about law type stuff, I don’t think revealing details of a phone conversation without permission (assuming you told the truth) is libel or defamation. And if that’s the case, you don’t need to worry because if means they don’t have a lawyer, they’re just empty threats from the person running the business.

Better yet, scan the letter and post a link to it (with your info blacked out) in your review.

Not a lawyer, but a few questions that immediately come to mind are:

  1. Is the OP actually present in Spain? If not, in what jurisdiction does the seller propose to file the suit?

  2. Was the threatening E-mail from the seller, or an attorney hired by the seller? If not from an attorney, then the E-mail is likely an empty threat.

  3. Has the OP received a registered postal letter, again from a lawyer or law firm, containing the threat of a lawsuit? If not, again an empty threat.

  4. To the best of the OP’s knowledge, is there a possibility that the law in the relevant jurisdiction prohibits one party in a phone conversation from revealing the contents of the conversation without the other party’s permission? If not, well, empty threat.

If the OP had indeed received a registered letter from a law firm, containing the threat, I would post a scan of the letter to the review site as follow up. If the only record of the threat were an E-mail, however, I would NOT post it, as you would not be able to readily prove that the E-mail really came from the seller, or that it accurately stated the seller’s position. Hope that makes sense to you.

Yes, I live in Spain.

The email was from the on-line seller

No physical letter.

Not to my knowledge. Sounds so North Korea to me.

thank you.

Having been an avid fan of Judge Judy for so many years I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question: :smiley:

If you were telling the truth, it isn’t defamation of character.

In this case, maybe update the review to say “Just got an email from the seller. He’s threatening to sue me over this review. Not someone I would recommend doing business with” and leave it at that. As El_Kabong said, if all you got was an email from him threatening to sue you (for libel, which I doubt you did based on my understanding of libel) it’s probably not going to happen. If he had any intention of suing you, you would have received a letter from a lawyer via certified mail. Not an email from him. He’s just trying to scare you into taking down the review.