Kyran Seeto, a Gold Coast accountant has taken on a legal battle with Google over reviews ‘anonymously’ made in relation to his business.
There are a number of reviews providing wordless one-star ratings and critique about his business. Mr Seeto does not believe they have been clients of his firm.
One review by a Google user under the name of ‘Emma Anderson’ posted a review stating:
“Don’t bother going to this one…unless you want your concerns and enquires to be met with hostility…my favourite is when the account (sic) said to me, ‘That’s a joke, I don’t believe that, that’s a joke…they need training in customer service…Max accountants can take up to 20 days to even lodge your tax, they don’t tell you that…Wouldn’t bother, my first time using them and I know I’ll be going back to my old accountant”
Mr Seeto said he is trying to build a business and with “literally a keystroke they can destroy you…it’s not fair”.
Mr Seeto has suffered a significant impact to his business since the false reviews have been posted.
Justice David O’Callaghan agreed that the court could and should hear the case and that Mr Seeto has a prima facie case.
This is not the first time small businesses have taken on internet giant Google.
In South Australia an Adelaide lawyer won a $750,000 defamation payout against a woman who had never been a client but posted a bad review about his firm on Google. Later the same year, Google was ordered to pay $40,000 in damages in relation to defamation of a Melbourne lawyer.
In Melbourne, Justice Melinda Richards ruled that Google was a publisher, despite their denials and went on to say “The Google search engine … is not a passive tool”.
What are your thoughts?
Should Google and/ or the persons posting false reviews be held accountable?