Is it considered libel if I post negative feedback for a seller stating undisclosed issues with a vehicle I purchased from them?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it considered libel if I post negative feedback for a seller stating undisclosed issues with a vehicle I purchased from them?

I purchased a vehicle through an on-line sales/auction site and upon delivery of the vehicle, I discovered several undisclosed issues. I have supporting documentation (dealership inspection report) of these issues. I left negative feedback stating, verbatim, “Undisclosed Issues-A/C inop, conv top repl incorrect, engine smokes…$1500+to fix.” I was then contacted by the seller, who sent an irate message containing profanity, 2 messages demanding contact info, and a message stating he was suing me for “slander” giving me his attorney name (located in AK where the vehicle was registered). Does he have a case?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Personal Injury, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Slander is  a form of defamation. Defamation is the public making (so posting on a website qualifies!) of an untrue statement of fact which damages another's reputation. An opinion is not defamation--writing "John Doe is the worst seller I've ever dealt with, and I recommend not doing business with him" is not defamation. And a provable true statement is not defamation, either--though even if it turns out to not be defamation and you would win if sued, it is almost impossible to prevent someone from at least instigating a lawsuit against you and forcing you to defend. If you can document and prove everything your wrote, therefore, you would have a good defense to defamation--but it's still possible he could at least sue and make you spend money (and no lawsuit is ever certain; even with what seems like great documentation, it is possible to lose). You may wish to consider whether you could settle by agreeing he'll not  take action if your retract or remove the comments; if you come to an agreement, make sure it's in writing.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption