Ripoff Report is a consumer review website that houses millions of “reports” or reviews summarizing customer experiences with specific companies. As you can tell by the name, “Ripoff Report”, these reviews aren’t exactly positive. In fact, many of these reports have ruined the reputations of hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses. As you are about to read, you do not want to get posted on Ripoff Report. And if you are unfortunate and need to remove content from Ripoff Report, here are some tips on what you need to know.
CAN BUSINESSES HAVE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ABOUT THEM REMOVED FROM RIPOFF REPORT?
In the past, Ripoff report was notorious for refusing to remove reports, even if they were defamatory. This made the company’s strict “no removal” policy a hot topic of debate in the business community for years. If a business sought to restore its reputation, the only option Ripoff Report welcomed was a rebuttal, oftentimes resulting in an online debate that caused even more negative attention.
And I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t defamation against the law?” Yes, it is, but it’s also important to understand that federal and state laws support Ripoff Report’s removal policy. Specifically, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provide online platforms, like Ripoff Report, with immunity from liability for content that is user generated. There are few exceptions to this federal law. Which means Ripoff Report has no incentive to remove content posted by a user. In fact, user generated content usually helps sites like Ripoff Report to generate traffic to their website. So they definitely don’t have an incentive to remove content, even if it is defamatory. However recently, Ripoff Report decided to offer an alternative for dealing with false reports.
DID RIPOFF REPORT CHANGE ITS REMOVAL POLICY?
As of June 2018, Ripoff Report has established “VIP Arbitration Rules” which, in simple terms, is a very specific process where individuals can seek review of statements posted on Ripoff Report that they believe to be false. Ripoff Report’s process is not much different than how any private arbitration process would work. They use an independent arbiter. They do not make decisions regarding arbitration rulings themselves. They usually hire a retired judge, or experience lawyer to review the evidence submitted, and to make a decision. This is why it’s important that you have a lawyer involved that understands Ripoff Report’s removal procedures, and can build up your arbitration case.
If arbitrators find that statements written on the website are indeed false, Ripoff Report will post a notice stating, “Ripoff Report VIP Arbitration Decision: A neutral and independent arbitrator has determined that the following Report contained one or more false statements of fact. The false statements have been redacted” followed by a summary of the arbitrator’s decision.
WILL RIPOFF REPORT REMOVE DEFAMATORY POSTS?
The website still will not remove the original content of the report, even if the report was found to be true or false. It will only post the Ripoff Report VIP Arbitration Decision before the original report, if it is found to be false.
However, if Ripoff Report receives a court order claiming that statements in a report are libelous or defamatory, they may choose to “redact the information specifically identified as false” but only under extreme circumstances. Ripoff Report’s redaction process usually means covering the statements found to be defamatory with the “#” symbol. In some cases, Ripoff Report may, but is not required to, redact the URL of the post.
On the bright side, we do have proof that the site will (under limited circumstances) remove certain content. This is because the attorneys at RM Warner Law have obtained a favorable result for a client dealing with a defamatory report.
Attorneys at RM Warner Law have obtained favorable results for a client who was dealing with a defamatory post. Results always vary, and we cannot guarantee any results, or that you will have a similar experience.
“We had a client that was being harassed, non-stop, on Ripoff Report. We exhausted almost all judicial remedies we possibly could, including obtaining a court order finding the content false and defamatory. Finally, Ripoff Report read the court orders, and after hearing our client’s perspective on the harassment, redacted all of the false and defamatory content – including the URL itself. This was an amazing, and rare result. But it literally took our client out of a downward spiral of depression.”
MANDATORY COURT ORDER FOR REMOVAL OF DEFAMATORY CONTENT
Although this change is a step in the right direction for businesses fallen victim to defamation, this policy only applies to those who have taken their case to court, and have obtained a judgment. Both sides have to present arguments and the court has to rule against the author who posted the report before Ripoff Report will even consider removing content. This process can be difficult, because it requires a court order to be entered against the defendant.
SPEAK TO A RIPOFF REPORT REMOVAL LAWYER
Is your business suffering because of a false and defamatory review posted to Ripoff Report? The attorneys at RM Warner Law have worked with hundreds of businesses to alleviate the negative effects of defamatory online consumer reviews. If you’re a victim, contact our ripoffreport.com removal attorneys; they’ll be able to review the specifics of your situation and depending on the circumstances, may be able help restore your reputation.