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Old 11-20-2001, 14:58   #1 (permalink)
raitchison
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Thumbs down Dealership sues customer over message board posting

I first saw this on ClubSi. This is unbelievable, if you have the time check out the thread on VWvortex (linked at the bottom) and go over there to show your support.

This is from http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/epa...2844b70b60008. html


quote:
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VW driver airs beef, gets summons
Dealer sues Tech student over Internet posting
Doug Payne - Staff
Saturday, November 17, 2001

A Cobb County man who took his complaints about a car dealership to the Internet is being sued by the dealer for libel.

Jim Ellis Motors Inc. and General Manager William Farmer filed suit against George Mantis in Cobb Superior Court Nov. 2. They are also attempting to sue the company that maintains the Web site.

Mantis, 27, a Georgia Tech graduate student, took his 2001 Volkswagen GTI to Jim Ellis Motors on Cobb Parkway in July to fix some rattles, replace a damaged wheel and install a CD player. Mantis claims his problems weren't fixed.

On July 20, he posted an account of his problems on vwvortex, a Web site for Volkswagen owners. Under a heading of "worst service ever!" Mantis wrote about his troubles and ended, "I'm seeking revenge as best I can. This is one way: telling all of you to avoid this dealership, for sales or service, like the plague."

He says the posting has received more than 150 responses since July.

One respondent rang his doorbell Sunday --- a Cobb County sheriff's deputy with a summons.

A hearing is set for Monday, with Jim Ellis and Farmer seeking a restraining order against Mantis and Vortex Media Inc., removal of the Web site messages and various monetary awards.

The Internet is more and more at the center of libel suits, said Atlanta attorney Doug Isenberg, who is also publisher of the Web site GigaLaw.com.

"More people are turning to the Internet as a soap box," he said.

"Communications on the Internet are generally protected by the First Amendment right of free speech, but there are limits on that right, such as defamation," said Isenberg. "Generally, opinions do not qualify as defamation, because they're not false.

"But it's a fine line."
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For more info see:
http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=52126&page=1

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Old 11-20-2001, 15:56   #2 (permalink)
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There should be a difference between defamation and venting one person's opinion. Since when is it a bad thing to talk about your horrible experience with the dealership? I wouldn't trust most of the dealerships around here to know what my car is, let alone work on it.

If the dealership in question is so uptight about someone complanig, than it's obvious that they need to start changing things. What's to stop them from suing everyone that complains about poor service? If I have a problem with a place and tell everyone I know about it, am I going to be sued? The only real substantial thing here is that he posted it on the internet. But than again, what is the difference between posting it somewhere and telling it to everyone you know?

I think that nobody would have noticed his post before, and the dealer would have lost just a few customers...but instead they sued him, and now have probably scared off any potential customers, and advertized their lack of customer service. It's like shooting yourself in the foot. Dolts.
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Old 11-20-2001, 16:21   #3 (permalink)
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That blows.. Another attack on free speech me thinks. If the dealer has concerns then take it up privately with the bloke who posted. No need to sue the bastard..
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Old 11-20-2001, 16:52   #4 (permalink)
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That's just ludicrous.
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Old 11-20-2001, 19:34   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, this is happening in my town.:oo1: Jim Ellis has many dealerships in Atlanta, none Ford. Jim Ellis Mazda won't even touch a Probe because it's a Ford. Even tough it's the same as a 626 and MX-6, that's their dumb policy. Of course after reading what happen to this guy I'm kinda glad they don't. I don't see how a company can sue someone for this. It would be the same as standing at the water cooler and telling people you worked with what a bad experience you had at a dealership. What ever happen to freedom of speech ? I wonder how the judge will rule on this ?
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Old 11-20-2001, 19:42   #6 (permalink)
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I would hope common sense would prevail....but these days, who knows. I think I'll keep tabs on this just to see how it turns out. Interesting.
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Old 11-20-2001, 20:34   #7 (permalink)
 
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Im thinking the dealership is really hurting for money....no more customers now. hehehe...but this is a bit rediculous..to sue a guy over speaking his peace. Pulease.
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Old 11-20-2001, 20:56   #8 (permalink)
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Thumbs down

Friggin' ridiculous, if you ask me.:mad:

I had nothing but problems with my first Jeep dealer (Steve Christy Chrysler Jeep, Tucson, AZ :fmad: ), and I make sure everyone I talk to knows how horrible the service was. Aside from filing a complaint with Chrysler Customer Care and the BBB, I post on several Jeep forums and make sure the word gets around. I've even considered making up a nice spare tire cover with their name and a red circle and slash across it and parking across the street.......:s5

It is fully within the customers' rights to give an honest account of the problems they encountered. Any dealer that would sue a customer for complaining as a result of their poor service should be driven out of business! :fmad:

I hope the customer prevails in the end!
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Old 11-20-2001, 21:00   #9 (permalink)
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ok. this is interesting i have read the entire thread over there. not a short one mind you. The dealership is upset. but to go and file a suit overthis did more damage to them than what he wrote. yes if it goes to trial and the dealership wins then we as a consumer and as internet go'ers have lost our rights.

this was started back in june or july if i am not mistaken and they are now getting around to suing this guy? not the brightest bunch, but they maybe just trying to build the case. You know that this will not a be a shot quick decision either, but will be a long drawn out court case seeing who has the most money to throw around.

I really hate to see the rights of the individual and the site for that matter being infringed upon. what will happen next will other dealships or car manufacturers be shutting down sites and trying to censor you or someone else because they mention things that are not well liked.

i am going to watch this case.
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Old 11-20-2001, 21:01   #10 (permalink)
 
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I think its a RED flag big time when it comes down to this outcome. I hope for all our horror stories, the customer wins. Isnt the customer always right?
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