How to handle business defamation: Protecting your business

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Business Litigation |

Businesses count on their reputation to draw customers in and keep those customers loyal. Unfortunately, there are times when people or other businesses make false statement against a company. Those false statements may be defamation, which is different than a review written by a critic of a business.

If your company is the target of false statements, this defamation can result in several negative impacts on your business. It may prevent customers from feeling your company is trustworthy. It can affect your company’s reputation and revenue. It’s critical to understand defamation so you can recognize it and promptly work to mitigate the damages that are often associated with being defamed.

Stopping defamation and addressing the effects

Once you learn that your company is being defamed, stopping the negativity is the priority. There are several things you can try. These are three common responses to claims of defamation:

  • Cease and desist letters: These letters are often the first step in getting defamation to stop. They demand that the person defaming stop making the false statement. It may also require them to retract any already-made statements.
  • Lawsuits: A lawsuit can help to seek damages and restore your company’s reputation. Some businesses may try to avoid this because it’s often an expensive and lengthy option for handling the defamation.
  • Injunctions: When defamation is an ongoing issue that’s posing a threat to your company, you may seek an injunction. This is a court order that requires the defamer to stop the defaming statements.

While addressing the defamation and putting a stop to it is important, you also need to ensure you address the negative impact it may have had on your company.  Consider these strategies:

  • Public statements: In some cases, speaking out about the defamation and providing the factual information to combat the defamation is a good course of action. This shouldn’t ever be done in an aggressive or defense manner
  • Customer communication: Speaking directly to customers and stakeholders is often valuable in these situations. Maintaining open communication with them may help to keep them loyal and solidify the trust they have in your company.
  • Online reputation management: Online platforms and social media are often a target for a defamer. Monitor these and respond professionally to anything that’s said. It may behoove you to work with a reputation management professional to combat these false online claims.

Because defamation is often a legal matter, it’s typically best to have a legal representative who can review the situation and provide you with options for addressing it. Ultimately, you have to do what you feel is best for your business.