In a bizarre and downright immature case, a Groupon deal was used, a Yelp review was posted, and a defamation lawsuit was filed. But surprisingly, it wasn’t a jilted business suing for an unfairly nasty Yelp review, but instead it was the customer suing the business for defamation.
Cecelia Groark purchased a Groupon deal for a food and wine pairing class at Bottled Grapes in Albany Park, reports CBS. However, the deal required that Groark confirm her reservation by responding to an email. Groark said she never got the email and when she called Bottled Grapes to find out where the wine pairing class was to be held, she discovered that her seats were resold since she never confirmed.
As a result, Groark went on the business review website Yelp and posted a one-star review of Bottled Grapes.
Not happy with the review, Krunch Kretschmar, the owner of Bottled Grapes, responded to Groark on Yelp blaming Groark for missing the email and failing to confirm her reservations, reports CBS. Kretschmar signed off his rebuke by saying “[T]hese classes are for ADULTS ONLY and you clearly have shown you’re not one.”
But Kretschmar’s venom didn’t stop there, Groark claims in her lawsuit. She then says that Kretschmar established a blog in Groark’s name where Groark appears to self-confess to being a drug addict and prostitute. Groark says that Kretschmar did this in an apparent blackmail attempt for her to remove her Yelp review.
In the meantime, Groark says that she has been hurt professionally by Kretschmar’s fake blog and is seeking over half a million dollars.
This defamation lawsuit is a lesson on the power and permanency of the words on the Internet. Whenever you hit “publish,” whether it be on Yelp or a blog, you are making your written words visible to millions. And if you are not careful about what you post, you could be sued for defamation, if what you say is false.
Cecelia Groark posted a review that in her opinion Bottled Grapes’ customer service was bad. A customer review is subjective, and a bad review is perfectly legal if honest. On the other hand, Krunch Kretschmar was allegedly so angered by the review that he created a fake blog calling his reviewer a drug user and whore. These are not true, and so he could be liable in a defamation lawsuit.