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Fake online reviews can be a form of unfair competition

Oct 17, 2022 | Business Litigation

Your competitors may resent your success. Those who are truly capable of offering something better than what the competition provides may find that other businesses begrudge the impact of their success  on the local market.

Word of mouth about your great prices or incredible service may lead an increasingly large portion of the local market to seek out your services or goods instead of what your competitors offer. Those embittered by your success may engage in unfair competition to try to push back.

The internet has made it easier than ever for those who aren’t truly competitive in business to try to manipulate the situation for their own benefit.

Digital defamation is a concern for modern businesses

It has never been easier for an angry competitor to damage your reputation. They used to need to speak to people one-on-one and risk people tying the rumors back to their business. Rating systems on social media platforms and review-based apps have made it incredibly easy for those jealous of your company’s success to damage its reputation.

Your competitor could start leaving a review or two every week that gives you a very low score and makes inaccurate but realistic-sounding complaints against your business. They might accuse you of leaving a project have done or of your waitstaff harassing a customer because of their religion.

Eventually, that digital defamation will start to affect how possible customers view your business. While the average consumer does not give more weight to online reviews than in-person recommendations, they do still often review them. Numerous negative reviews will inevitably diminish your market share and give your competitors an unfair edge.

You can fight back against unfair competition

Your competitors have the right to innovate to improve what they offer or reduce their prices. They could advertise to make their company seem more exciting to customers, but they should not seek to make more money by intentionally damaging your business’s reputation.

When you have proof that online reviews and complaints have come from your competitors, you can potentially seek damages from them for the impact of their unfair competitive practices on your business. Identifying unethical and illegal business actions can help you protect your company through business litigation if necessary.