If I filed a BBB complaint against a painting company based on the contract provided to me but it was the wrong company, can I be sued?

The company ignored 2 letters and a phone call from the BBB, so they closed the complaint in my favor. Then the owner began calling me and very aggressively stated that he was not the same company. I immediately called the BBB and got them to reverse the complaint and restore his rating. Now he is demanding I give him $300 or he will sue me for slander (surely he means libel). I think he has no case since he did nothing to answer the complaint when given the chance.

Asked on July 31, 2014 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

He may have a case: defamation (libel and slander are both sub-types of defamation) is the making to any third party or other person or group of a false statement of fact which damages that person's reputation; what you did seems to fall under that heading. There is no obligation or requirement that the person or business defamed has to rely to or answer the defamatory statement. Therefore, it is possible you could be sued; or rather--he definitely has enough to at least file a lawsuit and spend time and money defending it; it is possible that he could win, but even if he loses, as stated, you'll incur costs in defending. Note that if you do decide to compensate him to avoid a lawsuit, make sure to get a written agreement (before you give him the money) that he will not sue or take other action against you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.