Wednesday, May 1, 2013
What's going on, Swift? Why someone's trying to suppress our freedom of speech!
The third is this...A Canadian shop owner about whom numerous complaints have been made on this blog is threatening me with legal action because she feels these complaints are costing her business. I gave her an opportunity to respond to the complaints last year, and she did. Two weeks ago, the store owner approached me by email and her husband contacted me by phone demanding I remove the reviews or her lawyer would be in touch. She wrote to me the other day to say lawyer would be contacting me at my work address. I haven't responded to any of these messages, other than to ask that her husband not call me as I was upset by his phone manner. I'm waiting to receive the lawyer's letter to see the legal basis upon which a customer of a store is prevented from offering a review of his or her experiences and how such a review might be considered "abusive" towards the store and/or owner.
As an aside, it's weeks later and I haven't received anything from any lawyer, nor have I heard from Saffire Blue.
I've always said I'll write the blog as long as it's fun...and this is the kind of thing I live to do. I believe in free speech. I believe in being accountable for what I write and what I share with you. And I stand behind what these readers have written about this supplier.
My original career path was all about the law, and I paid my way through university as a legal secretary to learn all I could. I'm not a lawyer, but I've fought and won three cases, one of which was against a government. Coupled with my love of writing, this seems like the perfect way to spend the summer.
I also believe in courtesy and niceness. Asking and discussing is so much more productive, which is why I ask you to be kind to me and to each other instead of yelling and name calling. If you have a problem with me or something I've written, talk to me and assume I'm receptive instead of attacking and bullying!
The reason I haven't written this week is because I've been doing my research on the notion that someone can be sued for defamation of character for writing or allowing to be written a review of a store or product.
All the precedents point to the idea that something written in good faith is fine. Defamation of character is all about lying about someone, and the reviews written about this supplier ring true, and were confirmed by my experiences with them.
I need to make it really clear that my time was taken up with research. This blog isn't going anywhere! I was having too much fun with my nose in the virtual books!
Ask yourself these question - Have you ever read a review of a product or service that wasn't good? Should that be allowed? Should the business owner be allowed to demand those reviews be removed? Should you be forbidden from writing anything that isn't positive about a product, service, or retailer? Aren't sites like Yelp or Angie's List or things like Consumer Reports based on the idea of reviews from actual customers? Should anything that might cost a business owner potential business be prohibited?
Here is what I ask of you, my fabulous readers - please do not post anonymously. Those who don't have Google accounts can sign off with a "Bye, (name)" or email me within two hours of posting. I will delete all comments for which no one wants to be accountable regardless of topic or content. I will happily stand up for your freedom of speech, and all I ask is that you honour me with at least a first name.
My mom always says the only things scarier than an angry Swift is an angry Swift who knows she's right. This is going to be interesting...
We'll be back to normal by the weekend! In the meantime, why not take a walk through the archives and see what you've missed? Try the label "formulating" for learning how to make your own lotions or "anhydrous" for all the non-water containing products. See you soon!