I made an opinion comment on Facebook which read to "take extreme caution in doing business of any type" and that I believed that they operated without integrity and honor. This is my opinion. As the company began to have conversation on the post I was reported to Facebook for hate / spam and consequently banned from posting.
The background: I entered to an online program with the company. I withdrew from the program within the first thirty days and made a request for the 100% money back guarantee in writing. The first month went without reply and they debited my account for an additional $699.00. A few exchanges of email where I did in fact get angry. I was told to stop harassing but was not given a reply regarding the refund. The second month once more they deducted from my debit card. I went to the bank to file fraud charges as they were not authorized to deduct the money and wrote the comment on my personal profile on facebook.
I have now received a letter from a legal firm stating that I must remove the post (which I can't - facebook already removed), retract my opinion as they are stating it caused harm to the company’s reputation, and I must publically apologize for stating my opinion or they will sue me for defamation of character.
My question is regarding the law of stating your opinion about a business, is it legal to state a negative comment regarding a business or is that opinion deemed defamation of character?
1 Answer from Attorneys
This is really too hard of a question for a format like this, but here is a basic answer. You can not get in trouble for stating anything that is the truth. You are free to state opinions because you enjoy freedom of speech. Your freedom of speech is limited if you are acting purely on a malicious basis. Many times in a situation like this the forum (state or federal court) where this might be litigated will dictate a more specific answer. You may want to ask a lawyer that practices in that specific location.
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