I am posting this as a public notice on OzBargain's response to recent legal threat from WeAllSave.com.au.
On Monday 7 July we received an email from "QuiltsDirect and WeAllSave" asking
did you read our solicitors letter
As I have been travelling (see this), I have no access to my business-registered mailbox. Thus I requested a soft-copy to be forwarded to my email address. On Thursday 10 July, WeAllSave sent their solicitor's letter to me regarding a forum discussion on OzBargain that was considered "highly defamatory and deleterious" to them. Unfortunately I am not able to re-publish the cease and desist letter here, as it is considered copyrighted, and Australian websites lack fair use rights unlike sites in the US. However here's my summarised interpretation:
- One forum discussion page on OzBargain is defamatory to WeAllSave
- The defamatory comments are baseless
- OzBargain forum discussion page ranked high on Google thus damaging the business
- All pages within forum containing defamatory comments need to be removed
- Otherwise there will be legal proceedings against OzBargain, i.e. suing us for damage & legal cost
I then emailed the solicitor (B2B Lawyers) last night seeking confirmation that they have indeed posted me the letter, as the copy I have was forwarded to me by WeAllSave. I have received the confirmation this evening, and here are the actions we have taken:
The forum discussion page specified in the solicitor letter is now unpublished.
As per our legal threat policy, all user accounts related to QuiltsDirect and WeAllSave are now disabled. Both domains are permanently banned with reason "Legal Threat", and future related stores will likely to be banned as well.
It is not really our responsibility to prove to the court that those comments made against WeAllSave are facts rather than baseless (as claimed by WeAllSave). We believe we have enough evidence to support some of the claims. However in my opinion, fending suits in court is really a waste of time and distraction of OzBargain's main business here (which is a community of sharing bargains). Please note that there is no freedom of speech here in Australia, and as a community website we do not have the statue of safe habour here either. OzBargain basically acts in the best interest of itself. While there has been successful cases of community websites in Australia fighting off defamation claims (see Whirlpool vs 2Clix), it is not without significant loss of time and resources. There are also instances where lawsuits completely destroyed a community (see ZGeek). Therefore we must apologise to those participated in the unpublished forum discussion that we have to remove their comments. Sorry.
I would also like to use this opportunity to remind our users here to be responsible when you participate in discussions online, especially regarding to the words you use. Please keep your descriptions factual and be very careful when you use injurious words. For example, when you write out the title describing your recent experience with some company,
- Okay: CompanyName sold me SomeProduct, took 8 weeks to deliver, and turned out to be something else
- Bad: CompanyName is scam! SomeProduct is dodgy!
Yes, calling companies and people scammers can be a very serious matter. OzBargain would not be able to shield you from any legal responsibility.
I am closing off commenting on this thread as we do not wish to have anything to do with the said company anymore. There are a few other places on the Internet that might let you discuss that company, and hopefully they have a stronger legal team and more time on their side. If you have any more inquries, please email me directly (contact form & Category = General Enquiries).