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Bad Press

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Dear Members,

I know that from time to time we buy a bad product, get bad service, or feel, in general, that a particular company is just not a good one to patronize.

If you have a beef with a corporation, write them a letter or an email, but please, PLEASE, do not post negatively on our boards about your experience if you intend to use the company's name in your post.

You may feel a lot better having gotten it off your chest, but there are a LOT of companies who do not take kindly to these types of statements. They also like taking legal action when they see them. And there are companies who have people patrolling the web looking for just this type of thing.

Now, the target of the lawsuit will be TCS, for allowing slanderous statements to be on our forums. Although we are proud of the site that we have built, we in no way have the resources to fight a corporate lawsuit.

What would more than likely happen is that TCS would just have to shut down. And there, we would all lose.

If you need to vent, have at it; just keep brand and company names out of it.

Thanks a bunch.
post #2 of 22
I have no problem doing that....

But i have a question....What if a product is really bad...I mean to the detriment of our kits...by being a cat welfare site wouldnt it be our duty to say something about it....

Like for example there is a common brand of flea control, that when used correctly is uneffective, and when used incorrectly can lead to sickness and death of animals....though a lot of people still buy this product because these facts are unknown to them......

Again I completly understand why this has to happen, and am in no way think this is a "bad" thing to do....I would much rather have TCS than vent about the local grocery store.... ...

I was just wondering about the above example.....Thanx
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
We've talked a lot here about steering clear of 'over-the-counter' flea products. By and large, they are usually ineffective and can harm your cat if used incorrectly.

See? Same message, without a specific brand name mentioned.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
We've talked a lot here about steering clear of 'over-the-counter' flea products. By and large, they are usually ineffective and can harm your cat if used incorrectly.

See? Same message, without a specific brand name mentioned.

Cool i getcha.....
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
We've talked a lot here about steering clear of 'over-the-counter' flea products. By and large, they are usually ineffective and can harm your cat if used incorrectly.

See? Same message, without a specific brand name mentioned.
Hey but Deb, since wonderful products like Advantage and Frontline are over-the-counter mightn't some people get the idea that these are bad? We don't want that happening because these two products are excellent!!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I still think you should consult a vet before using those 2 great products, especially if you're dealing with kittens.
post #7 of 22
Will do, Deb! I try not to mention brand names.

I am sorry TCS is involved in a suit
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy
I am sorry TCS is involved in a suit
We aren't, Diane. We are simply going to do what is right to avoid being in one. As the site grows, we are more likely to be noticed for these types of things.
post #9 of 22
That's a relief!!
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb25
I still think you should consult a vet before using those 2 great products, especially if you're dealing with kittens.
If you're a novice - absolutely!
post #11 of 22
In the united states truth is an absolute defense to slander. The statment must also be capable of being proven or disproven so opinions are not slanderous and are protected by the US constitution. I am not sure what board the jurisdiciton falls under but if it the US then it is very difficult to prove slander.

Example of slanderous statment:

xyz product can kill cats (when there is no proof it can and i done with intent to harm corp.)

Protected speech:

xyz product sucks!!!!! (this is protected speech/it is merely an opinion that is not capable of being proven true or false.)

xyz product kills cats (and you have proof or personal knowledge of its truth/TRUTH IS an absolute defense to slander/if it is true then there can be NO slander/if it is an opinion it also is protected so long as it truly is an opinion)

Bottom line/I sympathize with your fear of lawsuits but it would be very easy to win a slander suit in the united states if the forum is under US jurisdiction.
However/corporations can certainly sue even if there is no merits to the case but they do face sanctions if it is found to be frivalous. You can alos protect the forum by placing a disclaimer that opinions and info found within the forum is not approved or not the opinions of the forum owners.
post #12 of 22
The problem is...this website isn't run by someone with unlimited cash. Even a slam dunk case can cost thousands of dollars, and the end result could be that the place is shut down regardless of the outcome of the case. These corporations have $$$$$ to throw away on frivolous lawsuits. We don't.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
The other bottom line is that it's our policy that we do not permit the practice.
post #14 of 22
A suggestion, after saying bad about the product add a note saying if you want to know more specefics about what I'm talking about e-mail me....

Isn't that a good way of doing it?

Like that one it is a more personnal level I don't think the forum is liable as it is a private matter thereon
post #15 of 22
This just burns me up. This is our litigious business climate. Tort reform is desperately needed. But I doubt it'll happen because most legislators are lawyers.

I'm not familiar with the law involved, but it just doesn't seem to make sense to me that TCS can be sued for something posted. TCS isn't the source of the comments made in the post. The author of the post is. If the company has a beef with what was written, they need to go after the responsible party...the author. Going after TCS is just another case of a plaintiff going after whoever they can get. Not a case of justice at all.

Slander is intentionally telling lies in order to defame. If we have a negative experience with a product, and just tell of our experience with that product, that's not slander. It's telling the truth as we experienced it. These companies that take offense at that need to improve their products, not spend their resources trying to stifle the truth.

Not being able to tell the truth, or not being able to host a medium where the truth is published, makes me very sad about the state of affairs in society today. The threat of a lawsuit seems to me to be an economic denial of First Ammendment rights.

It's too bad TCS doesn't have the resources to stand up to the bullies. But sometimes "discretion is the better part of valor." Unfortunately.
post #16 of 22
PS: I wonder if Amazon, epinions, and such has ever been sued over negative reviews posted by individuals on their sites, and if so, what the outcome was.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster
PS: I wonder if Amazon, epinions, and such has ever been sued over negative reviews posted by individuals on their sites, and if so, what the outcome was.
Amazon has a lot more money, than TCS and keeps lawyers on retainer.
post #18 of 22
I know Consumer's Union has been sued many times and has never lost. However, as you say, they have a lot more money, and lawyers on retainer. I think it's a system designed by lawyers to keep lawyers employed.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
When we're as big as google, eBay, or Amazon, you guys can post whatever you want!
post #20 of 22
Ok, I just want to be sure I'm clear on what's OK & what isn't because I love this site & would never want to cause any problems. If for example your cats had a bad experince to a certain brand of food & someone asks about that specific brand would it be OK to say "that food did not work for my cats & upset there tummies"? I'm really not trying to be a pest I just want to be clear.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
That type of statement is ok. We are really trying to stay away from:

"Brand X is garbage. Don't ever buy it."

"Let me rant and rave about what an awful store 'XYZ' is."
post #22 of 22
Bottom line group is this- if you have a problem with a product, go directly to the company itself. Many times they are unaware of a problem and will work with you to rectify it. Example is two years ago I used a product on my horse that caused an adverse reaction. Instead of going to a horse board I frequent and complaining about it, I called the company with my vet bill in hand. They asked for my clinical notes from my vet, they paid for the vet bill, they shipped me more product- although I shipped it right back, and they sent me a note of apology. They also pulled their product off the shelf to rewrite the instructions so that the problem would never happen again.

So using persuasive tactics, keeping the emotions out of it, most companies will work with you and not against you. They will cease working with you however if they catch wind that you are badmouthing them on a heavily trafficked forum such as TCS- and yes, although it may be a poster's opinion to badmouth a company or product, TCS could still be held libel.
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