The reputation of a business is integral to its overall success — it can make or break your business.
Defamation threatens your business’s reputation and, indirectly, its health. If your business is hit with defamation, it can spell doom, but only if you handle it poorly.
In this article, we discuss the safest and best ways to deal with business defamation and how to restore your business’s reputation and appeal.
What is Defamation in Business?
Defamation occurs when a person puts out a false statement in a public place or platform. This statement can either be in written form or in a publication that causes a business to suffer a financial loss.
Even if the information shared is untrue, defamation can irrevocably damage the public perception of a business and cause it to lose customers, which translates to losing its markets.
It can be a frightening thing for any business owner, but with the right tips, it does not have to be a problematic situation.
Below are a few tips to help you deal with business defamation.
Do Not React Hastily
Naturally, if someone makes a false statement about you or your business, you instinctively react in haste. This hasty decision could involve you insisting that the author of the defamatory statement rescind it.
Having the comment taken down or demanding the third-party provider to do so could make matters worse. Your business and, by extension, you will appear overly defensive and aggressive and give an impression of being incapable of dealing with criticism.
Do Not Respond, Unless With Grace
One common mistake business owners make in the face of defamatory statements is to respond angrily. But, unfortunately, this will only come off as doubling down on what you have been accused of.
The best method to respond is to do so graciously and directly at the poster. This way, you acknowledge your fault (if there are any) and restore customer trust in your brand’s desire to fix its errors.
Enlist Legal Advice
Suppose the defamatory statement(s) have caused considerable damage to your business, like a continuous or sudden drop in sales, stock prices, or customer loyalty. In that case, you can consider taking legal steps.
You can consider this only as a last resort if all else fails. Depending on the nature of the statement, it can result in a civil or criminal proceeding.
If you are wondering whether or not you can sue for business defamation, here are three details to check. If these three are at play, you can sue for libel
- The statement(s) must be defamatory, i.e., intended to harm your business’ reputation or expose your business to contempt or ridicule.
- The statement(s) must refer to your business bystating its name or referencing it through other means, e.g., a picture.
- The statement(s) about your business must be published and communicated to a third party.
Once you can prove that the comment(s) were defamatory, you can seek compensation for damages or injunctions in court.
As a business owner, your business will constantly be subjected to customer criticism and reviews, especially if you run an online business. It is essential to manage such remarks carefully and not jump into a defamation suit.
If you need help dealing with defamation to your business or wish to take legal action against such, we can help. Speak to an experienced attorney here.