Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.
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Graham
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Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Graham » 8 Jul 2008, 1:43pm

If you wish to post a negative review of a person or company, please be aware that your post may be removed if the forum moderators consider that it might be libellous.

If complaining about a person or company, please only state easily-proven facts, and give as much benefit of the doubt as you can.

Any allegation that might damage the reputation of a person or company is potentially libellous, unless proven true. In UK law, the providers and hosts of this forum are potentially liable for claims of libel, and we don't wish to have to appear in court to prove that allegations are true.

Libellous post wrote:Bloggs and Sons are not able to provide bike parts with any sort of reliability, and take months to issue refunds. Avoid this shop at all costs - they're a bunch of thieves!


Less-libellous post wrote:Bloggs and Sons failed to send me the part that I had ordered, and were slow issuing me with a refund. They do seem to have other satisfied customers, so this might have been unusual for them.


Notes :
- We do value your experiences and warnings for the benefit of other forum users.
- Most providers of goods & services do not respond when a negative post appears on this forum. However, some do.
- Please permit the person / company the opportunity to respond and correct the problem before reporting here.


Here is an example of a terse, factual report which conveys the message, but, if completely true, is unlikely to land us all in court. Note the complete lack of emotive language :-
terse & factual wrote:I ordered X from this company. It was not delivered.
I could not get any response by email or phone for y days/weeks.
Eventually, the company offered a refund which I received z days after my original order.


Company name distortions
Tempting as it is, please don't distort company names in a derogatory way. This might also land us all in trouble.
e.g. avoid including distortions such as ". . . .frauds", "Sleasy. ." etc.

JohnW
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby JohnW » 6 Jul 2009, 8:12pm

Hmm - not knowing exactly what's behind your 'announcement', I'm assuming that something has happened.

My first reaction is to say "thanks for that - a timely reminder". I think that from time to time I may have mentioned bad experiences on the forum - never untrue actually - but I suppose that it's 'how you tell it', and as for being able to easily prove-------well, that's not always easy.

Yeah Graham, thanks for that.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby hubgearfreak » 6 Jul 2009, 8:30pm

just out of interest, i went to a branch of a large chain, they will remain anonymous.

i asked for a fuel filter for a 1972 beetle.
the lad in there asked me what car is it for.
i said it don't matter, it's for a 6mm fuel pipe.
he insisted he needed to know the make, model and year.
so i told him 1972 beetle.
he checks his book and states, quite categorically that vw didn't make beetles before 1998.

the shop clearly employs halfwits :wink:

is that OK? feel free to delete if not

workhard

Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby workhard » 7 Jul 2009, 10:01am

hubgearfreak wrote:just out of interest, i went to a branch of a large chain, they will remain anonymous.

i asked for a fuel filter for a 1972 beetle.
the lad in there asked me what car is it for.
i said it don't matter, it's for a 6mm fuel pipe.
he insisted he needed to know the make, model and year.
so i told him 1972 beetle.
he checks his book and states, quite categorically that vw didn't make beetles before 1998.

the shop clearly employs halfwits :wink:

is that OK? feel free to delete if not


don't they have the fuel filters out on the shelf then like they do in my local branch :wink:

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby hubgearfreak » 7 Jul 2009, 8:43pm

workhard wrote:don't they have the fuel filters out on the shelf then like they do in my local branch :wink:


how do you know which shop i'm referring to? :lol:

JohnW
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby JohnW » 7 Jul 2009, 10:39pm

hubgearfreak wrote:
workhard wrote:don't they have the fuel filters out on the shelf then like they do in my local branch :wink:


how do you know which shop i'm referring to? :lol:


Well, it'll not be the same bike-shop whose assistant, despite the earing, chewing gum and gold bracelet, didn't know what a seat-pin binder bolt is.

But at least hubgearfreak, you did get to meet face to face and talk with a human being - and pay cash over the counter. You would have been able to get some advice (if you needed it) if the assistant had been properly trained.

I submit that ignorance, incompetance and ineptitude are one thing, and the sharing around of true facts can be helpful, including identifying the perpetrators, but suggestions of skulduggery could really cause problems.

Having said all this, I do hope that this banter isn't proving counter productive to the essence of Graham's announcement. With respect to Graham, he is right, we should be sensible.

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Wildduck
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Wildduck » 8 Jul 2009, 7:33am

Graham's announcement was a year ago.......a bit puzzled why its taken a year for the discussion to pick up.
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JohnW
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby JohnW » 9 Jul 2009, 11:56pm

Wildduck wrote:Graham's announcement was a year ago.......a bit puzzled why its taken a year for the discussion to pick up.


That's a good question Wildduck - I was the first to pick up the thread and I can't answer your question. I saw July on the post and never thouight to check on the year.

There has been a thread about credit card skulduggery, and various following posts seemed to make reference to a particular business, and to be honest, it troubled me. This was partly because in the type of cases referred to, the retailer is often as much the victim as the customer. I did post along those lines on that thread. I'd never seen this "announcement" from Graham before, and I'd thought they may be related.

Obviously not, of course. I'm apparently not as observant as you are - top marks for you, then.

But, what Graham says is always relevant, isn't it?

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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jul 2009, 8:54am

I think the point is that no matter what anybodies' views about free speech, it is heavily curtailed in this country by the defamation laws. A small bike shop might have to put up with the occasional unhappy customer shouting his mouth off with little hope of redress. What we are really discussing here is quite big retail chains and mail order outfits specialising in cycle stuff. They have the clout to take action or at least threaten it if they get fed up with being constantly derided in public - especially if it's nothing more than innuendo. This must be much less likely if negative comments are supported in factual detail by what happened, where the most they might reasonably expect would be the right to publish an explanation. It has to be remembered that all this is in the context of comments about cycling being posted on a forum hosted by one of the most prestigious cycling organisations in the UK if not the world. 'My clients were most aggrieved when this wholly inaccurate comment was published by the Cyclists' ... er ... Touring Club, which, as M'lud will be aware, was founded in the 19th century, and to this day is known as the national cyclists' organisation. I understand Her Majesty the Queen is patron....' And if you are going to take that sort of action, you need to target somebody with the funds to pay up. It might never get that far but even the cost of saying sorry is not cheap.

Graham has good reason for expecting complete support over this and his only alternative is deletion of entire threads.

(I do know that there is a whole body of case law on this, but unlike the Beeb and national newspapers, the moderators on here haven't got access to libel lawyers 24/7, so they must err well to the side of caution.)

JohnW
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby JohnW » 12 Jul 2009, 10:55pm

thirdcrank wrote:Graham has good reason for expecting complete support over this and his only alternative is deletion of entire threads.

(I do know that there is a whole body of case law on this, but unlike the Beeb and national newspapers, the moderators on here haven't got access to libel lawyers 24/7, so they must err well to the side of caution.)


Yeah - I agree with that tc.

robint
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby robint » 1 May 2010, 2:44pm

Would I be right in saying that if you couch your comments under the umbrella of

In my opinion - this shop is unreliable because the staff members who served me were uniformed about the bike................

after all to be useful one should be able to post ones experiences honestly to warn others

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Wildduck
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Wildduck » 1 May 2010, 4:20pm

Unfortunately this forum does not have the resources to fight off a legal challenge regarding comments that some companies find upsetting. Despite having the evidence to back up my claims against a tyre retailer, a decision was made to withdraw the whole thread on this basis (however I do note that I cannot find this company in business still - shame!).

Hence the existence of this sticky warning other to be 'careful' about what we say, regardless of whether it is accurate and is backed by evidence or not.

Personally I find it appalling that the law allows companies to bully us into silence but I suppose we'll just have to verbally spread the word when we're out and about with fellow cyclists.
Trice Q 2007 in inky blue (Quackers)
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Sweep
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Sweep » 24 Nov 2012, 9:54am

mm

interesting.

The CTC seems to be placing the bar extremely low with that, I must say, ludicrous (please don't sue me CTC) example of what is a permitted comment.

I will clearly have to go elsewhere for informed comment on the merits, or not, of any goods or services.
Sweep

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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Vorpal » 24 Nov 2012, 10:17am

The moderators on this forum are volunteers. As such, we must use our own judgement about what is suitable. We cannot, for the reasons noted above, permit unsubstantiated slander and libel. However, I think that if you read them, you will find that many of the reviews for products and services contain a variety of comment and opinion on the merits of those products and services. Some threads even include :shock: debate on the merits.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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Sweep
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Re: Please avoid creating a target for legal threats

Postby Sweep » 24 Nov 2012, 10:28am

Vorpal wrote:Some threads even include :shock: debate on the merits.


I totally appreciate your view and the hard work done by the volunteer mods - it's a great forum with great help (and noticably free of the daft even poisonous arguments you get in some places) but that "example" of a permitted "bad/critical" view on a product/service actually ended up sounding like a positive advert. :)

maybe the reviews section should be removed and just replaced by "recomendatinos - I can recmmend a good SE London bikeshop.

all the best,

P
Sweep