Bad reviews on Facebook, Google, eBay, etc. – how to seek legal compensation under Bulgarian and EU laws
You can now get huge financial compensation from those who have left you unfair and defamatory reviews online? And in some cases, the perpetrators can even face criminal responsibility for harming your reputation!
Trust, doing business and how the “social culture” on FB, Google, Booking.com, eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc. changed the business climate completely
Trust is important. Doing business without trust is virtually impossible. And in our days, trust can be ruined with a mouse-click. Luckily, there are legal ways to protect your business reputation from the ones who misuse the system.
Building trust in the very old days
Prior to the turn of the century, trust was built privately (and so were bank accounts, relationships, etc., but this is subject to another article). People used to communicate face-to-face and those who were honest were well known and highly valued within the businesses communities. Clients used to trust the businesses by default and indeed, it was very rare when the customers were left empty-handed or hugely dissatisfied.
Building trust in the old days
With the massive shift to doing business online, building trust became completely different adventure. Large online businesses like eBay introduced the system of… “feedback”. At first, this was a way for both the buyer and the seller to exchange publicly their opinion of each other, for everyone to see. Later, the option for the seller to leave negative feedback was withdrawn. And here is when things became sour – it was the “buyer is always right” culture that took the lead. And then, the phenomena of the “feedback extortion” was born. But the worst was still to come…
Building trust TODAY
Feedback and reviews became the weapon of mass destruction for many. And the rules of the game changed once again. Sellers on eBay for instance were confronted with negative feedback from”buyers” who didn’t even pay for their purchases (so were they “buyers” at all?). Facebook and Google were already allowing reviews from just about everybody. No matter if the person has ever conducted business with a company – a bad review could be received, out of the blue. Bad reviews became a thing to fear, no matter from whom – a genuine client with “high expectations”, an “extortionist”, or from somebody who you didn’t even know to exist.
How to sue those who are leaving you unjustified comments on public domains
If you got unfair and defamatory review or feedback on the internet, don’t wait a second and seek legal compensation. Make use of the Bulgarian and the EU laws and get compensated asap. Don’t let those who lie online to ruin your reputation. By protecting yourself, you will also protect the whole business community.
Justified vs unjustified feedback/comments
It is important to understand that not all negative comments can be attacked in court. In general, comments serve to inform the public about the opinion of a client about the services (or the products) of the seller. And of course, opinion can be subjective. But only to a certain, reasonable degree.
We find this article of How-To Geek to explain very well the difference between justified and unjustified comments. Still, from 2018, when the article was written, the EU regulations have made seeking legal compensation for defamation a much easier job. And most importantly, the amount of the compensations have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.
Untrue and dishonest comments
Untrue feedback is probably the most often used “weapon” of “dishonest clients” to get additional benefits. People often lie blatantly, damage the reputation of the seller and then demand additional services in return for withdrawing their review. This is also known as “feedback extortion” and is especially widespread on eBay and similar online platforms.
In general, any comment or review that is not 100% true and honest can be attacked in Bulgarian (and EU) Court of Law as libelous and defamatory
In recent years, the Bulgarian legislation adopted a policy of hugely increased fines (GDPR non compliance for instance can result in up-to 20 million Euro fine!!! So don’t be surprised if it appears that you can be compensated with few hundred thousand Euro and even more.
Advice not to use the services of the seller
Any comments with advice to the public not to work with the company or person is also of defamatory origin. For example, if our client gets a review like “Don’t work with this company, because they provide poor service!“, we can immediately sue the perpetrator for considerable damages.
Feedback and comments that accuse you of criminal activities
If in any public review, your business is falsely accused of any criminal activities, contact us immediately. If you have received a review that is claiming that your business is a “scam”, or anything alike, then the person who has left it can be criminally charged for libel. And this comes on top of the compensation that you may be awarded by the Court.
So what can you do if you believe that you have received a defamatory or untrue comment on public domain?
Please contact us immediately if the business you are running is registered in Bulgaria or in the EU. Or if the person who has left you the comment is Bulgarian or EU citizen or resident. We will make sure that the legal system will protect your rights and reputation and we will work hard to get you the maximum compensation possible. In some cases of criminal libel, we may also engage the Prosecutor’s office. In such cases the perpetrator can be charged according to the relevant penal code.
And don’t forget, by protecting your business from libelous feedback, you will be also protecting the entire honest business community from those who are misusing the system. Leaving comments online is easy and appreciated. But libelous and untrue statements can backfire hilariously via the legal system in Bulgaria and the EU.