In another troubling example of businesses behaving badly and lashing out at customers over negative online reviews, a Chicago woman is suing a wine store owner for posting a fake blog in her name and calling her a drug addict and a prostitute — all because he didn’t like her review on Yelp.
WBBM Newsradio says it started with a Groupon deal for a food and wine pairing class at a place called Bottled Grapes, owned by a wine expert named Krunch. The woman, Cecelia, says the deal didn’t say where the class would be held. She claims she emailed the owner to find out the location, whereupon he called her and said since she hadn’t replied to an earlier email, he’d given her spot in the class away.
Cecelia then posted a one-star review on Yelp, writing:
I never received the email nor a courtesy call to confirm that I was attending, he just gave my seat away. I’m very unhappy with the customer service and like everyone else – it’s very hard to even schedule a class as they are always ‘sold out.’ I’m extremely frustrated and would not recommend anyone buy this in the future.
Then began the rage of Krunch, says the lawsuit. He snapped back on the review, saying he’d sent her and a friend emails nine days before the class, but that they’d ignored them.
“You could have signed up for another class, But instead you decided to Blast me on YELP,” he wrote. “Sorry you felt that way, But it is better because these classes are for ADULTS ONLY and you clearly have shown you’re not one.”
But that’s not all! Cecelia says he pushed things too far by establishing a blog in her name the next day, and emailed it to her, saying, “Now every time a company for a job or someone searches YOU on google they will read my side of the story.”
The lawsuit claims the blog featured a post that said:
Cecelia troubles began when she started Embezzling from her last employer to support her drug addiction. While her treatment in the Cook County jail did little to help her, she is continuing to fight her demons everyday. Now turning to the Oldest profession to gain the funds need to support her habits, she is now trying to turn a new leaf. We wish her well.
Cecelia’s suit claims she suffered severe emotional distress and hired a lawyer who sent Krunch a cease and desist letter. She says Krunch called her lawyer and said he’d take down the blog post if she would remove her bad review of his store on Yelp. As of now, the blog seems to have been removed.
She’s seeking a jury trial, more than 150,000 in compensatory damages, more than $500,000 in punitive damage, court costs and attorney fees, due to defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Previously in businesses behaving badly: Boners BBQ Apologizes For Ridiculing Dissatisfied Customer On Facebook
*Thanks to Mark for the tip!