Legal Threats In Businesses – to fund themselves?

What should a business do when they are alerted to a negative message about the business on someone else’s media stream?

1. Email them threatening legal action.
2. Accept it, learn from their mistakes and try and improve themselves.
3. Shrug it off and let others do the same later on.

There are several companies out there that deploy some of these tactics.

For example, Retail PC parts supplier in Brisbane, QLD, GameDude has so many negative comments on various online forums and shopping sites that you’d be a complete fool to purchase from them knowing the experiences of others.

And a more recent example, a local computer supplier has threatened me with legal action for a post detailing my experience with them and how I found them rude, and insulting after seeking information about equipment they may have had in stock.

It seems businesses like that aren’t making a lot of moolah and depend on the business they can get, and when someone says something negative, they need to threaten legal action for, and I quote: “deformation of character”.

The IT shops that open up every where could be run by anyone. Any monkey can resell, there’s no real skill with that. You get a little more skill credit if you can provide correct, accurate pre and post sales support, and even more so if you have clearly demonstrated abilities in the industry you seek to resell to.

But essentially, they are still bottom feeders, using no to low skilled people to undertake the work required, which is of a basic level.

Anyway, the businesses in question make somewhere from $5 to $20 a sale, and that’s on parts only. They make a little more profit providing service, but essentially, they don’t turn high profits, because the profits aren’t that soaring compared to other, more specific, and more skilled industries. So, they sort of depend on all those sales they can get to make a good profit, and they don’t even need people capable of spelling “deformation” correctly to do that, or be able to construct correct sentences, or even a detailed paragraph, very poor english skills indeed, but they can still pull out the old screw driver, and see if they can find a fault, or generate some crap for the customer to hear that they might believe and pay for a format.

But what happens when a negative response comes from a prospect customer? Do they learn from it? Should they?

Well, in my opinion, they should, because they could find themselves wishing for a shop to work from.
The Australian legal system has several aspects when it comes to defamation. The clear cut one is:
You can’t sue for defamation if you undertake any activity that brings about such response.
The provision I refer to above is all about incitement. If you annoy someone with comments like “That’s why we run a PC shop and you don’t”, you generally deserve the response that might come from it for insulting a customer anyway.

At the point of insulting me, I immediately hanged up on the person, I wasn’t going to tolerate that. My immediate reaction is, that was so rude, and so insulting of everything I’ve put my life to for the last few years, that I should never purchase from there again, and make sure word gets out that they are extremely insulting – and I immediately started the word of mouth chain.

The point here though is, they bought about such word of mouth themselves by insulting me. That’s clear incitement. They can’t sue me for that. If they did, they’d lose, and they’d be paying my legal costs (possibly from some loan sourced from remortgaging their house to find the money, after giving up the shop they currently retail from, because business wouldn’t fund the costs).

And also, threatening vexatious legal action is also a subset that is available to those who have been threatened by a company or solicitor with legal action and they don’t follow through on it. Should they threaten to sue, and you allow for that lawsuit to proceed (by not complying for example), they can actually get sued themselves for vexatious threats, and be forced to pay any legal expenses, and in cases, compensation.

Now, I’m not an arse. I don’t intend for them to lose their shop, I know, I’m too nice. I do intend for them to pull their heads in and get their arses into gear though, so I naturally took the right course of action and explained the possible loss making legal outcomes for suing me for “deformation” – heh, that’s funny, de form ation. Just how deformed are they?

I’m not out to chase them out of business, they are a local computer shop, without them, we’d have everyone going the extra distance elsewhere, or me starting my own side venture for a PC shop for the locals. I’ve got better interests, hint, higher profit interests, that obviously sparked their eyes a little ;), that I stick with, and grow from. I certainly wouldn’t sue someone for having a negative experience with me. I’d go further out of my way to keep them happy and come to a happy resolution, doing that tends to slow the negative word of mouth down.

How do I know this? I’ve been behind the scenes in a few places, and I’ve seen the complaints, I’ve seen the positives, and I’ve seen the chain reaction results. 10 positive happy customers might not be as vocal, but they are better than 1 negative customer who can scream for cities, states, countries, and planets.

On a different topic, Big Brother seems to have lost interest lately, with a record low audience number for the opening night, and of course, the unreliable media streams like to spit chips about porn sites that don’t exist, according to Behind Big Brother.

Big Brother seems more interesting this year though, I would expect numbers to climb due to having the White Room, and the latest additions.

It seems to be shaping into a good season, but so is all the hype around Big Brother at the start of a season.

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