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November 23, 2016

Bad Notary Reviews and the Law on the internet

I am not an Attorney, and this blog article does not constitute legal advice, but only my experience talking to Attorneys as well as “practical” advice.

Many internet sites have review systems.
Yelp, RipOff Report, 123notary, Travelocity, and others. People who get a bad review sometimes get upset and want to sue. The question is, who can you sue, and how hard is it? What I have been told (consult an Attorney for a “real” opinion) is that the sites that publish reviews are off the hook. The law protects their right to publish information that someone else wrote regardless of whether it is true, false, based on evidence, or not. However, you do have the right to take legal action within a time frame of perhaps a year or several years depending on your state based on the Statute of Limitations. You would need to contact an Attorney to see what that time frame would be.

The Statute of Limitations
On the other hand, if a slanderous statement is published on the internet which just sits there, even if it had been there for years, you could claim that since it is still being “published” that it is within the time restraints of the statute of limitations and perhaps a judge might buy that (good luck.)

Who can you sue?
If you want to sue someone, you need to go after the individual who wrote the review and NOT 123notary or whomever published it. Step one is to find out who they are which an Attorney can do. You need to know their legal name and address, etc. You can have an Attorney write to them and try to get them to take the review down. If you sue them, it is likely that they are broke, especially if they write in broken English like so many do. So, good luck collecting.

How much will it cost?
But, you do have rights. It might cost you $5000 just to establish the identify of the individual who wrote the review. It might cost another $10,000 to go after them depending on who you hire, what state you are in, and how good the Attorney is, etc.

Bad Notary Reviews?
Very few Notaries on 123notary get bad reviews — only about two per month. However, most Notaries are paranoid that it will happen to them and that their life (as they know it) will be over. Notaries with bad reviews stay in business and do not lose that much market share. What they do lose is their pride more than anything else.

So, for Notaries, you should just leave the Attorneys alone and forget about it. Just write a rebuttal and wait for three years and I’ll remove it. Cover up your bad review with good reviews. If you have ten good reviews and only one bad review at the bottom of the stack, people will see the bad review in proportion or might not even read it at all. A bad review will not ruin you life. Just deal with it like a pro instead of making it worse and provoking a huge conflict with 123notary. After all, it is not our fault you got a bad review. Also, should we disable our entire review system just because one Notary complained bitterly about a bad review and threatened to sue. If we removed his/her bad review we’d have to do it for everyone and then we wouldn’t have a review system at all. Review systems are a very practical way for the publish to defend themselves from bad service providers.

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You might also like:

Common complaints we get about Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19399

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews (mentioned above)
This guide includes many supplemental and highly relevant and helpful links.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16290

Notary Marketing 102 – your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19788

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