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A man in London has to pay £25,000 for a negative review on Trustpilot

Ridiculous.

gavel on table for law firm
Image: Unsplash

Writing a negative review shouldn’t get you in trouble, especially not a legal one. However, that’s not the case for Philip James Waymouth, who got sued for a negative review he left for a legal company from London. 

Before the review, Mr. Waymouth used the services of Summerfield Browne, a London-based legal firm. According to court documents, he hired Summerfield Browne to help him with a dispute related to a £200 fixed fee, which he had to pay and for which there was a court order. 

Unhappy with Summerfield Browne’s services, Mr.Waymouth took his displeasure online and wrote a damning review. In the review, he used descriptions such as “a total waste of money,” a “service full of errors,” “once they have your money, they are apathetic towards you,” “another scam solicitor,” and so on. 

Furthermore, in his review, Mr. Waymouth said that he paid Summerfield Browne upfront for their services. According to him, in return, he just received the information he sent them, reworded. 

The folks at Summerfield Browne believed that they did not deserve the review and decided to take the matter to court. In court, they argued that Mr. Waymouth’s review was untrue and defamatory. They also claimed that since Mr. Waymouth’s negative review, the number of business inquiries they’ve received dropped significantly.

He was found guilty during the hearings and was ordered to pay £25,000 ($34,000) in libel damages. Neither he nor any legal representative of his was present. 

Before the legal proceedings, he said that he offered to take down the review in return for the £200 fee he paid. But, the people at Summerfield Browne did not respond to that offer. 

Experts believe that Summerfield Browne’s way of handling the matter might have paved the way for other companies to take legal actions against customers that leave negative reviews. 

Once the case got under the public spotlight, many people sympathetic to Mr. Waymouth’s situation started posting negative reviews on the firm’s page.

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