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Can a Business sue for a Negative review? The real-world impact of negative reviews.


Platforms such as ‘Trustpilot’ and ‘Google’ have provided consumers with a platform to review their experiences online for over thirteen years. Having really taken advantage of the ‘.com’ era and the increase of online personnel, ‘users share over four million reviews a month’. It is no wonder then, that with such an extensive customer base that businesses take negligent usage of these platforms increasingly serious.

A court proceeding filed by a London law firm demonstrates just how impactful defamation can be on a legal practice. Showing that an untrue statement relating to their conduct had the influence to reduce business inquiries significantly. Making the defendant liable to repay the firm £25,000 in damages.

In this case, Judge Master David Cook placed significant importance on the tendency to deter people from working with the firm without ‘fully articulating why he was unhappy with them’.


What to do to avoid negligence in reviews…


Adhere to the relevant complaint’s procedures. The importance of brand identity and maintaining integrity online is becoming increasingly apparent with research suggesting that one negative review drives away 22% of prospects. Therefore, to ensure satisfactory customer experience, many organisations who exist online will uphold what is known as a ‘complaints procedure’. The opportunity for the organisation to mediate any issues a customer may have ‘in house’ and resolve any issues practically for the customer. Leaving both parties satisfied. This enables the organisation to develop from feedback whilst maintaining trust with future potential clients. All whilst providing the customer with the opportunity to obtain the service they were expecting. Therefore, when leaving reviews, it is important for individuals to consider the relevant complaints procedure prior to utilising Trustpilot or other platforms. This could ensure they are be seen to be taking reasonable action should their comments be deemed defamatory.

Articulate your specific reasons for review. In the case of Waymouth, it was made distinctive that providing reasoning enables future prospects to reach their own informed decision on the firm. Without relevant details, the reviewee could pre-emptively reduce business for a company by up to 70% for reasons that could be considered to have personal interdependence.


What to do to reduce the impact of negative reviews…

Respond promptly. Many organisations neglect the importance of responding to online reviews, negative or positive. Consumer engagement has been seen to increase customer acquisition; with Forbes suggesting that nearly fifty percent of customers will continue to visit a store that’s received a negative review, providing they have responded constructively.

Mitigate. By maintaining an effective complaints procedure, a company is able to obtain the feedback from the customer before it is made public information. In addition, this improves a customer’s perception of the business being that channels are in place for them to have their feedback heard.

Rectify. By having procedures in place to resolve customers complaints, it is less frequent that a customer will proceed to further channels being that they have now received a satisfactory standard of care. If they were to however, it is reasonable to expect that your efforts of resolution would also be mentioned in their depiction of events. Meaning that future prospects will get the opportunity to assess your corporate culture.

Not all news is bad news. On average, customers are 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. Therefore, it is important for brand identity that customers are also encouraged to leave reviews following positive interactions. Testimonials and Case Studies are effective means to show your organisations dedication to customer satisfaction.


Reviews in the legal sector…

Within a solicitor’s practice, trusted employees can be dealing with delicate and important situations. Consequently, trust in both our ability and our duty of care is imperative in acquiring new business and maintaining clients. It is growingly vital that our exceptional service is demonstrated online and that our customer experiences are as transparent as possible.

If you require any legal advice regarding the impact of negative reviews, please contact our Solicitors in Manchester and London, UK.

If you would like to find out more about our services please complete our online contact form here or send an email to us at [email protected] and one of our solicitors shall call you back.

Alternatively, please call our lawyers on 0330 127 8888 for a no obligation discussion.

We have specialist advisors based at our Manchester and London offices offering a personal service, nationally and internationally.


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