Can I be sued for slander after warninga business’scustomers about my bad experience with it?

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Can I be sued for slander after warninga business’scustomers about my bad experience with it?

I purchased a item from a Etsy seller and received poor customer service not to mention I never received my item. Before being able to leave feedback the seller cancelled my order so that I wouldn’t be able to. I have e-mailed other buyers who left negative feedback (having the same problem as I did with the seller) telling them about my experience and letting them know that I had reported my problem to Etsy and suggested they report their experience as well. Someone forwarded my message to the seller and now they are threatening to sue me for slander. Is this possible?

Asked on October 9, 2010 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Slander is the "speaking" form of what is generally known as "defamation."  It is where words are used in false and malicious way to harm one's reputation.  The key to a defamation suit is that the words are false.  Truth is always a defense to a defamation suit.  If you told the truth (and it appears that you are backed up by other buyers here) then it is doubtful that such a suit will be proven by the seller.  I would suggest, though, that you stop your campaign.  You have made your point and the contacting of the other buyers sounds like you are targeting this seller.  It may not be rising to the level of something wrong that is actionable but one never knows.  You made your point.  Write back to the seller and let him know that all you did was disseminate public information to those in a similar predicament as he and that truth is your defense here to any threatened suit.  State that if he intends on pursuing the matter you will counter sue for legal fees once his case goes down the tubes.  Oh, and get the names, numbers and addresses of those other buyers. Good luck. 


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