I just got my first cease and desist order today. I think it’s kind of like losing your virginity, but for bloggers. So who thinks they can bully me into silence? None other than SpeedTicketBeaters.com. Just so that we can all remember what I said over two years ago, here’s a link to the original post.
Here’s the e-mail I received earlier today:
October 20, 2007
It would be advisable in the future before you post content such as the material you posted about our company, you can factually support your supposition. Your failure to do so has resulted in the litigation we are now organizing.
Your allegation against our company describing it as a scam, is in no way a reality you can prove in a court of law. In fact, should such an occasion arise, you would find yourself having to refute the claims of thousands of documented customers, who utilized this companies services successfully over the past 5 (Five) years.
Regarding the details of your allegation – every single testimonial writer on the website is a real human being. Each one has used materials provided by the company to defeat their citation/s. We retain the contact information of all of the testimonial writers in our company files. However, we cannot control any scenario where the customer has decided to use an alias , or otherwise fictional name, for privacy purposes. Perhaps it should have occurred to you that we cannot possibly be aware of such a situation when it is the case. Therefore your inability to contact any individual author of our testimonials should never have been presumed to be a reflection of the companies business
practices. Rather, those cases are a customer exerting his or her right to privacy. That in our opinion is fully understandable considering the customer likely wishes to avoid any further harassment from their local Police departments.
In the future, it would serve you well to absolutely know what you write to be true.
You may consider this a formal demand that you remove entirely from your web page the entire section you posted about this company. The material must be entirely removed from your web page within 7 calendar days. To clarify: By Saturday October 27, at Noon Eastern time, all of the relevant material must be deleted from your page. Failure to do so will cause this department to obtain legal jurisdiction over you. This would begin a civil court claim against you for malicious business interference and defamation. That claim will result in punitive and monetary damages against you.
Any future written content authored with your involvement appearing anywhere in print – will be considered malicious business interference, and defamation as well. Any broadcast content in any media, created with any involvement by you, will be considered the same. Any complaints made by you to any agency or organization, that result in any limitation on our ability to conduct business, will also be considered legally actionable. Should we become aware of you participating in any of these activities, legal remedies will be pursued.
A screen capture of your web page taken today will serve as proof to any judge in the United States of the malicious nature of your intent. We will obtain jurisdiction over you in any of the 50 U.S States in which you reside if necessary.
Consider this notice a “cease and desist” upon you, relating to all further contact, complaints, and activities you are considering undertaking. Failure to comply with this notice will bring you legal harm.
From this day (October 20, 2007) forward, any further contact with this company must be made by your attorneys. Only the contact of your attorneys will be acceptable hence forth. All other contact or attempts at contact will be considered a violation of this notice. Should such violations occur, they may be used against you in court at a later date.
cc: active lit
They still don’t get it, do they? There’s no defamation because I’m not making any libelous statements. The purpose of the original post was to point out that I was suspicious, did some light research, and confirmed my suspicions to my satisfaction. I never said that the service they provide isn’t real. I never said that the service doesn’t work. All I said was that I couldn’t find the authors of any of their testimonials. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it just means that I couldn’t find them online.
The resource I used was AnyWho.com, which is reliable, but not infallible. I’ll give them that there’s a chance the people who submitted testimonials may have used false names, but there’s no way to prove it, is there? Just like there’s no way to disprove it. Convenient, right?
The only thing I’ll give them is that, in the comments of the original post, I said, “none of the people in their testimonials exist.” I will admit that I have no way of knowing whether or not this is true. That being said, it’s unlikely that over a dozen different people from all over the country are all unlisted from the phone book. Moreover, the statement is not libelous or defamatory, because it is a factual statement that I was unable to find any of the authors of their testimonials on the website AnyWho.com.
So I apologize to SpeedTicketBeaters.com for making a statement that I couldn’t have definitively known to be true. You’re absolutely correct that I have no proof that those people don’t exist. Which brings me to an interesting point: in the C&D, they make a definitive statement that they later admit they know can’t be true.
Regarding the details of your allegation – every single testimonial writer on the website is a real human being. Each one has used materials provided by the company to defeat their citation/s. However, we cannot control any scenario where the customer has decided to use an alias , or otherwise fictional name, for privacy purposes.
So what you’re saying is, every single person is real, except in the case where they might not be real. Nice one, guys. As it stands, testimonials are, for all intents and purposes, worthless. They are not evidence that a product works. They carry especially little weight when they are authored anonymously, and to attempt to bring litigation against someone for making a statement that you fully admit you cannot disprove isn’t exactly good business sense, is it? Oh I know you, “retain the contact information of all of the testimonial writers,” but if they don’t tell you who they are, how do really know they’ve used your service? Couldn’t I, or anyone else, just write a testimonial about your service and send it in under a fake name?
And what do they mean, “regarding the details of your allegation”? Their call it my, “allegation against our company describing it as a scam,” but how am I doing that? In no way did the statements I made imply that the service they provide is a scam. The word “scam” does not appear on the original post, and I even made a point of saying, “I’m not saying anything about their system. Maybe they are legit and have good info; I have no idea.” The only thing I can think of that might be misinterpreted to mean scam is the title of the post: Speedticketbeaters.com or Bigfuckingcheaters.com? What I meant by “cheaters” is not that they’re going to cheat you out of your money, but that perhaps the testimonials are not real, and they may have cheated by making them up themselves. Again, a statement of opinion. A supposition, which, as defined by Meriam-Webster, is an opinion.
Let’s not forget that I’ve researched and talked about all of this before. And just like last time, in order to actually sue me, they would have to prove both malicious intent as well as actual damages.
I’ll wrap this up with one last (I think quite apt) observation: Who sends a legal notice via e-mail on a Sunday?0 People like this. Be the first!