While it might be tempting to trash a competing business online, faking a Yelp review can be costly, as one Massachusetts jewelry store employee recently found out.
A jury has ordered a man who works for his father’s business in Quincy to pay a rival business $34,500 for writing a false online review and inflicting emotional distress, reports The Patriot Ledger.
The review was posted in Aug. 2013, detailing a visit from a purported customer, who claimed he had a generally bad experience when trying to buy a diamond engagement ring. He wrote that he would advise people interested in jewelry to “go elsewhere.”
The owner of that store filed a lawsuit in county court that same year, claiming that the interaction was entirely made up. He tells the Ledger he tracked down the reviewer by calling other businesses he’d reviewed, and realized the first name and last initial matched the worker’s name.
His lawsuit also alleged that the rival jewelry store — owned by the worker’s father — was also responsible. The jury rejected that assertion, however.
The lawyer for the worker and his father’s store said he and the owner are disappointed and disagree with the decision. They’re looking into possible post-trial motions and the possibility of an appeal.
“Regardless of the verdict, however, we believe that the damages awarded were not based on any facts, but were entirely speculative,” he told CBS Boston.