Yelp Gives Up User Data In Jeweler Defamation Case

After previously denying request to uncover the identity of a reviewer known only as Linda G., Yelp finally handed over the user's data information following an order from the municipal court judge.

Public Citizen's Paul Levy who represented Yelp said that after Pageo Jewelry provided documentation to Yelp and to the court wherein it indicated that there is falsehood in the user's review, he's now absolutely off the case.

"Yelp goes to great lengths to protect its users' rights and that includes making sure that businesses comply with all necessary legal requirements," said Rachel Walker, Yelp PR Manager, in an email to Ars Technica.

After Yelp has handed over the user's information, Linda G., the alleged owner of the account in question, is said to have deleted her account which eventually resulted to the deletion of all her reviews. This include the deletion of a review that was being disputed by the company involved.

The dispute started in February when Linda G. reportedly wrote a poor one-star review on the Yelp page of Pageo Jewelry. In the review, Linda described how badly she felt when even though she is a loyal customer, she received poor payment for jewelry that she sold back to the store.

Part of the "controversial review" stated, "My husband, myself and some friends of ours were loyal customers of Pageo Newton, Nantucket and Boston. Together we spent 100s of thousands of dollars on some gorgeous but definitely way overpriced jewelry. I thought I could trust him since I had given him so much business."

In July, George Pelz, owner of Pageo, filed a lawsuit against Linda G and accused her of defamation.

"The foregoing statements were and are wholly false and untrue and defamed PAGEO and George Pelz," stated the complaint.

Tim Lynch, Pageo's lawyer, also stated in an affidavit that Yelp's court statement where it had offered to "meet and confer" was deemed as an exaggeration. According to Lynch, he received a response from Yelp only through email with the sender identified as "Freida." He further added that Yelp didn't even indicate a phone number where they can be reached.

In the meantime, Linda G. apparently created a new account which carried the same user name. The account is said to be active on a Yelp Talk page. She posted a "not recommended" review on the Yelp page of Pageo Jewelry. On Sept.23, the user wrote: "YOU don't know the whole story and sweetheart they have LIED, so they should be the ones that are worried. Have you heard of counter suing someone?"

While George Pelz now claims that he already knows who the user really is, he insisted that the review in question is still "fictional" since in reality, Linda G. didn't sell him back any jewelry.

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