company in Ankara has filed a lawsuit against a consumer complaint website where only negative comments can be posted about companies and brands. The court has ordered the temporary removal of the company’s logo, name, content, and complaints about the company from the website. The legal process is ongoing.
In Ankara, a company filed a lawsuit against a consumer complaint website where only negative comments could be posted about companies and brands. The court has ordered the temporary removal of the company’s logo, name, content, and complaints about the company from the website.
Attorney Ayşegül Zengin, who represents the company, pointed out that as long as the complaints remain visible, companies have to defend themselves for years. She mentioned, “The person writing comments about your brand could be your customer, or even a competitor. We believe that this lawsuit touches on a very important point.”
Consumers can visit consumer complaint websites to express various complaints about companies and brands. However, this lawsuit in Ankara raises the possibility that this situation could be challenged and set a precedent for consumer complaint websites.
The company owner filed a lawsuit against the consumer complaint website, where only negative comments could be posted about companies and brands. The court ordered the temporary removal of the company’s logo, name, content, and complaints.
Attorney Ayşegül Zengin, providing information on the matter, said, “As long as consumer complaints remain visible on the site, they can harm a company’s brand reputation, even years later. The impact on the internet is significant. So, the question we raised was: Is this permissible? Can there be an application that allows only defamation, complaints, or negative comments without the company’s permission? We made an application to the court about this, and it was largely accepted. As a result of our application, all the logos, names, content, and complaints about the company were temporarily removed.”
“THE PERSON MAKING THE COMMENT MAY NOT BE YOUR CUSTOMER AND COULD BE A COMPETITOR”
Ayşegül Zengin emphasized that there is no mechanism for review when someone writes a comment about a brand or company on these websites. She stated, “The person writing comments about your brand could be your customer, or even your competitor. My client tried to write a complaint about her own company experimentally with the company’s email, and she was able to post the complaint. In fact, we have seen that when consumers try to write complaints, they are directed by the site to write more negative comments. Although consumers may write comments with the intention of seeking their rights or in good faith, these comments can be used against companies as a threat to their brand reputation. We see that there is a situation of significant violation regarding brands. We believe that this lawsuit touches on a very important point.”
“THESE WEBSITES SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A JUDICIAL OR DISPUTE RESOLUTION BODY”
Ayşegül Zengin pointed out that there is a difference between consumer complaint websites and online shopping sites where consumers can make various comments. She said, “We see that consumers write comments on many internet sites. However, these comments can be both positive and negative. There is an evaluation process here. However, the situation is different on consumer complaint websites. There, only negative comments are published, only complaints are allowed, there is no oversight, and what is written is presented as a threat to the brand. We believe that a significant violation has occurred regarding brands.”
PRECEDENT DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BEFORE
Zengin recalled that a precedent decision was made about consumer complaint websites in 2015 and said, “Firms and brands had to become members of these sites when they wanted to explain what was written about them or to find out if the person making the complaint was really their customer, and these memberships were also paid. We thought this was unfair competition and applied to the court in 2013. Our application was accepted, and in 2015, after passing through the examination of the Court of Cassation, it became final. With this case, we proved that it is unjust for consumer complaint websites to demand a membership fee from brands and companies, and that they should not prevent companies from responding to complaints made about them. Legally, there should be no obstacle to companies responding to complaints about themselves. Allowing consumers to become members without demanding a membership fee only solves part of the problem. Therefore, depending on the outcome of this case we have filed, we expect it to set a precedent.”
Source: “Tüketici şikayet sitelerine kötü, şirketlere iyi haber”
by Banu Şen, Hürriyet Izmir