While most businesses have learned to handle criticism posted on blogs, there are still those who overreact when someone goes online to write unkind things. And then there is the rare situation where a business threatens legal action over seemingly innocuous comments.
Back on June 4, Alana took to her blog, TheDawgsDish.com, to write about a trip to try out a new ballet-based workout class at a Cleveland-area fitness studio with some fellow blogger pals.
The post points out the class’s positive and so-so points, but Alana makes it pretty clear that it’s a matter of her personal tastes.
She even writes that she “might make sporadic appearances,” if it weren’t for the 45-minute drive across town.
But from what we can tell, the inflammatory comment comes when she writes, “And, if I’m being completely honest, the studio is overpriced for Cleveland. Sure, they will probably do just fine due to their location, but I hope to see [the studio] reduce their prices to reflect the market – $25 a class isn’t going to fly!”
Not exactly a nasty burn on the fitness studio, at least to most people who read the post.
Alas, the operators of the studio are apparently not most people.
It took about 11 days, but last week the studio’s Twitter account began taking issue with what Alana had written.
“1 class won’t make a change. If so the whole country wouldn’t be suffering from an overweight epidemic,” wrote the studio, in a Tweet that has since been deleted.
By posting that, and subsequent defensive comments, over the weekend, the studio only attracted more Twitter users who said its prices are too high.
Then this morning, someone purporting to be from the studio — and sharing the last name of the studio’s owner — wrote the following on Alana’s blog:
Just stop the posting about [the studio] and take down all the existing posts. We know that you stole the class and we can pursue legal action against you for that and that is why it is ridiculous that you complain about a price when you never paid for the class. You were never given a discount code… and somehow you used that to enter the studio. I am sending you this message to politely ask that you remove all the content about [the studio] from your blog and twitter and we will not get the Beachwood Police involved on this theft of services.
We asked Alana about this “stolen” class and she tells Consumerist that she — and the other women who took the class with her — all used a discount code that had been given out on Twitter to publicize the studio’s opening.
We’ve written to the studio asking for its side of the story. Will update if anyone responds.