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Illegal Posting Of Reviews On Consumer-Driven Websites

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Stop me if you've heard this one: Someone is suing a lawyer for saying things that are too nice.

Online consumer review site Yelp has filed a lawsuit against a lawyer because they say that on the website, he had his employees post fake glowing reviews of his firm. You know that posting false statements of fact that harm a person or a business' ability to earn a living, whether in print or on line can get the poster sued for defamation. But for posting false statements of fact that help a person's ability to earn a living? That's a new but growing trend.

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not consumer review sites like Angies List, Merchant Circle, Trip Advisor, and Yelp, among others, are accurate or choose to highlight some reviews over others which skews consumers' opinions.

And, since those consumer review sites make THEIR living with a loyal following of people who listen to what they say, review sites like Yelp have really come out swinging by filing claims of consumer fraud when they believe the reviews posted are not truthful.

The obvious lesson to consumers is that the free advice you get on these sites costs nothing and may be worth the price.

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