“My real estate broker (xx) refused to return to me half of the commission he promised,” one post on Chinese social media writes. “He is so money driven and has lost his morality!”
After giving out the name of the agent, the post has attracted more followers:
“Thank you for exposing him. No one wants to seek service from such a greedy broker!”
“Post it once a week, and then see what he says!”
Indeed, the internet provides a perfect outlet for disgruntled consumers to relieve their emotions and to hide their true identity. From mistreatment at a grocery store to being overcharged for professional services, they sit in front of a computer and begin furiously type away, trying to shame and humiliate the service providers.
Social media websites in the Chinese community is not immune to online attacks. The above poster, who took her anger over her realtor to a popular social media site, Rolia, has decided to take her action to the next level – attacking the company that the agent works for.
“That real estate company (XXX) has had multiple scandals exposed before. The business quality is low and is a real estate dollar mart!” she accused.
Chinese News has heard the other side of the story from the agent, after some of the website hecklers requested that Chinese News intervene. According to the agent, he has repeatedly explained to the client that he was unable to give the client half of the commission rebate as he hasn’t got any commission rebate from the builder yet.
“I’ve not got any commission yet, how could I give half to her? Besides, the amount of commission wasn’t too much and I wouldn’t keep half of it if I got it,” said the agent.”In fact, I’ve also provided many free services to her as she neither drives nor speaks English.”
In recent years, online defamation lawsuits have grown rapidly as offensive online posts have become increasingly common on social media sites. According to media reports, the number of defamation actions brought over derogatory posts online – through social media platforms – has increased 300% in the past year.
The growing number of online libel cases may also attribute to a lack of understanding among social media users that they are legally responsible for what they write.
And the consequences are real. Many of these posts -- basically one-sided, non-verified allegations--may harm the reputation of business people and raise eyebrows of defamation lawyers. As the internet could permanently retain the obscenities, it can cause more damage than standing on the sidewalk and shouting profanity at passer-bys. The internet’s power of sharing has in fact increased the speed and the level at which someone’s reputation can be affected.
The agent says he was shocked to know from his other clients about the online attack quickly after it was posted. He has now decided to take legal action.
“I will contact my lawyer and she must face the legal consequences!”
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