On Google, leaving a negative review can cost you dearly

A user has just been fined for leaving a negative review on Google.

Social networks are not the only favorite place for haters. Also on Google, online reviews are on the rise, noting restaurants as well as health professionals, or even sometimes schools. Very often, this comment space is also an opportunity for dissatisfied customers to vent their nerves after a bad experience.

Recently, a French notary had the bad experience of Google reviews. According to information from Mail Picard, the professional would have been targeted by two comments, to say the least vehement, from a 45-year-old former client. Disappointed by the difficulties encountered during a “commercial lease transfer project which involved a change of activity“, reports the client’s lawyer, the latter would have made the decision to post several negative comments indicating : “Notary swindler. A shame to have that in France” and “A notary who does not deserve to be known”.

Heavy fine for defamation

After quickly identifying her detractor, the notary quickly initiated a direct citation lawsuit for defamation. Invited to appear this Thursday, June 2, 2022 before the court of Amiens, the defendant did not finally appear at the hearing, leaving his lawyer in charge of his defense.

The notary demanded 15,000 euros in damages to the accusedconsidering that in a sector “extremely competitive“, these two opinions could have “significant repercussions” on his activity. The court’s opinion was not long in coming: the convicted person will have to pay a suspended fine of 500 euros, 1,000 euros in damages and 800 euros in legal costs.

For the moment, the comments are still visible on Google, but should soon be deleted. So be careful when writing reviews on Google, or anywhere else. Even posted anonymously, it’s easy to trace the owner of a Google Account, and online defamation remains as legally punishable as real-life defamation.

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