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Following a bad Google review, they find themselves in court

  • On 24 August 2023, the Le Mans court ruled on an original case
  • A couple has been accused of defamation and identity theft after posting a negative review on a shop’s Google listing
  • After reporting his employer and a colleague, this former employee used his partner’s Google account to write the negative comment in question
  • Eventually, the defendants were released.

It’s not uncommon for outlandish stories to come before a court. This Thursday, August 24, 2023, justice had to decide following the presentation of a negative opinion on Google. In fact, the manager of an e-cigarette shop has sued a couple for defamation and identity theft. The two individuals had posted a one-star review and a negative comment on his business’s Google listing.

But what happened so that the Le Mans court had to take a stand for a “simple” negative opinion on Google? For this we need to go back to August 12, 2021. An employee of the company in question then filed a complaint against his employer and a colleague for harassment and threats of violence.

A few days later, a new review of the shop appeared on Google: “Handrail reported XXX and the boss (…) for threats of violence. Next time it’s a complaint with a file already assembled (greet the evidence) you who refuse to be heard when you threaten. okay kiss”. The comment is signed by the employee’s partner who filed a handrail earlier in the month.

The employer then decides to sue the couple. The partner for defamation, and the employee for identity theft. He did not hesitate to ask for compensation for damages. Two years later, the Le Mans court finally concluded the case. A notice from Google that the couple has no intention of forgetting.

A warning from Google that is not without consequences

If the notice was posted from the ex-employee’s partner’s account, he is still the author. The former employee, in fact, admitted the facts in court. The latter assumes his comment and claims that he did not ask too many questions using his partner’s account. The former employee has ensured the defense of him, without resorting to a lawyer. The partner’s representative, for his part, argued that there is no evidence that the commentary was written by his client.

In the end the court of Le Mans decided: the two defendants were released. In justice, defamation could not be held, the facts being prescribed at the time of filing the complaint. As for the identity theft, the magistrates felt that there was not enough evidence to characterize it.

If the story is unusual enough, you may want to think twice before posting a negative review on Google. We will never know…

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