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Defamation on TrustPilot case

Remove bad review from TrustPilot

How to remove fake reviews from TrustPilot

The online review website TrustPilot is infested with fake online reviews. Few businesses trust reviews on TrustPilot, particularly because the online review website offers very little degree of transparency and openness as to the systems and processes it applies to filtering good, bad or fake online reviews.

Example of fake reviews on TrustPilot

Bad reviews by competitors

Solicitor letter to TrustPilot

Example of fake reviews on TrustPilot

Ms. Hamid (not her real name) is the Medical Director, Founder and Cosmetic Dermatologist at a clinic based in the City of Liverpool. Ms. Hamid and her business were the deliberate target of negative online reviews posted on the customer review website, TrustPilot, with the aim of deterring potential clients from using Ms. Hamid’s services. The malicious reviews posted on the popular review website, TrustPilot were extreme in language and intentionally off-putting particularly towards Ms. Hamid. People are entitled to write reviews about a service they used or received so long as the content of the review is accurate and not defamatory. These defamatory online reviews, however, were very personal in nature and spoke poorly of Ms. Hamid as opposed to the treatment she offered and carried out.

They were not an accurate depiction of her business but rather bordering a hateful campaign against her and her reputation.

TrustPilot Reviews & Legal Action Legal Advice FAQ

A business can contact TrustPilot directly to report the suspected fake reviews. If there's a belief that competitors authored these reviews, the business can engage a solicitor to write to TrustPilot, highlighting the reasons for suspecting the reviews are fraudulent and requesting their removal. If the reviews are not removed, the business may consider legal action for defamation or malicious falsehood.

While TrustPilot protects the anonymity of reviewers, through legal proceedings such as a Norwich Pharmacal Order, a business can compel TrustPilot to release information about the authors of the reviews if there is evidence to suggest the reviews are fake and defamatory.

TrustPilot often appears to be a robust platform, but many businesses have reported dissatisfaction with how their complaints of fake reviews are handled. TrustPilot may require substantial evidence to take action against alleged fake reviews, and the process can be challenging for business owners without legal assistance.

Yes, a solicitor's letter can be effective. In the case of Ms. Hamid, a legal letter to TrustPilot, outlining the reasons why the reviews were believed to be fake and threatening legal action, resulted in the removal of the fraudulent reviews.

Legal action can include suing for defamation if the fake reviews have caused reputational damage or malicious falsehood if the intent to harm the business can be proven. The business can also pursue a Norwich Pharmacal Order to reveal the identity of the reviewers if TrustPilot does not cooperate in removing the defamatory content.

Bad reviews by competitors

Ms. Hamid was also able to identify that the reviews posted on TrustPilot bore no relation to real clients that she had treated at the clinic and she suspected that the negative reviews had been written by competitors in an attempt to cause maximum damage to both her business and personal reputation as a successful doctor in the profession. The cosmetic and beauty industry, like many others, is an area that is rapidly growing, unfortunately with its intense development comes fierce competition and often trolls who focus on tearing one’s business down as opposed to building their business up.

Ms. Hamid’s business was rapidly prospering and naturally it caught the eye of nasty competitors hoping to cause harm to her business and reputation by posting spiteful and distasteful comments. Ms. Hamid was not prepared to let trolls or nasty competitors tarnish her good reputation and the reputation of her or business so, like many other entrepreneurs in her situation she decided to do what it takes to have the fake reviews removed from TrustPilot. She told us that she started off by carrying out a Google search find what other business owners experience was with TrustPilot. It appeared many had been highly disappointed with the way TrustPilot has handled their complaints.

TrustPilot had appeared all so powerful, giving very little opportunity for entrepreneurs to put their case across in a fair way. It made no sense to her that one business, in this case TrustPilot, has so much power over another, completely unrelated business. Ms. Hamid received recommendations from a friend of hers, a dentist who had experience similar issues of fake online reviews in the past with TrustPilot and with the help of our firm managed to resolve them all. Ms. Hamid booked an initial consultation with one of our solicitors and shortly after we began working on her project.

Solicitor letter to TrustPilot

Sometimes a legal letter by a solicitor to TrustPilot, would result in the removal of fake online reviews. In the case of Ms. Hamid, we immediately wrote to TrustPilot explaining why we have good reason to believe these reviews were fraudulent and certainly not an honest depiction of fact. We requested that TrustPilot forward our correspondence onto the reviewers, whose identity TrustPilot had kept safe for now. We told TrustPilot that we will pursue legal action against both TrustPilot and the reviewers, should they fail to remove the fake reviews. Our letter gave the reviewers an opportunity to remove their review before we proceeded with disclosure proceedings and legal action against them.

Shortly after, the majority of the fake reviews were taken down, but a small number remained on the website. Consequently, to ensure that all the defamatory online reviews about the Ms. Hamid and her business had been removed from TrustPilot, we served on TrustPilot a GDPR Notice and a request for a disclosure order (NPO), whereas the court would compel TrustPilot to disclose any identifying data that they hold of the remaining reviewers.

Upon obtaining the identity of the individuals responsible for the fake reviews we were able to show that they were all posted from locations outside of the UK and therefore were highly likely to be fake reviews. TrustPilot was left with no choice but to remove any remaining fake online reviews from its website. Whilst on this occasion, our client decided to not pursue TrustPilot for defamation, this still remains an option for cases where TrustPilot fails to remove online reviews which subsequently turn out to be fake and defamatory.

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