How to remove negative online comments about our business?
Question Details: A customer has posted a lie about our company online. Installation per his direction he found that it was not what he wanted. He then went to paypal for a refund almost 90 days after when told there are no refunds on special ordered items. He was not able to return the item and paypal dropped his awarded refund. The installation is how all contractors install generators. Had he directed a different installation he would have had the higher price quote, as all other estimates were above the $6500 that we quoted. He still has not paid the bill in full. With the comment he has left our business is losing revenue, wages for employees and future employees and is causing harm declaring installation was improper. If that were true the state would pull our bond and have a contractor correct all deficiencies.
An actual lie--that is, a mistatement of fact (as opposed to a mere negative opinion)--is defamation. You can sue the customer for defamation, seeking either or both of monetary compenation (e.g. for your lost profits) and/or a court order that he remove the comment. The key is, the statement he posted must be or include false factual statements: opinions, as stated, are not defamation, and you cannot do anything about them, no matter how harmful.
1) He wrote that "Acme Installation ignored my instructions and installed my gadget incorrectly"--that is a lie, since you followed his instructions; because you can prove it is a lie, it is defamation, and you could sue him.
2) He wrote, "I hate Acme Installation! I am not satisfied with their work and would never hire them or recommend them. I feel ripped off!" Every statement there is an opinion, not a factual allegation; it is not defamation, and you could not sue.