“Absolutely horrible” Yelp review costs customer thousands in lawsuit

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DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) - A Colorado couple never thought a review on Yelp would cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees.

In 2013, Matt White and his fiancée, Amanda Jameer, hired Footprints Floors to install new floors throughout their home.

However, White says he was left with a staircase that didn't meet code, colors that didn't match and doors that wouldn't open because of the floors.

After the installation, White went on Yelp to review the company.

"Absolutely horrible experience... I have 4,000 square feet of sandpaper on the floor and Footprints believes there is nothing wrong. I have shoe prints in the stain, dust, debris and filler trapped under my stain.... The quality of the work is absolutely deplorable," the review read.

Footprints Floors filed a lawsuit, claiming White's review cost the company 167 projects and $625,000 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1, 2014.

"I feel like we're being bullied. It's still unbelievable to me even though we've been going through this for a year," Jameer told KDVR.

"Some of the other reviews were much more scathing than my review," White said.

White and Jameer said the company was owed money for its labor and materials, but insisted adding the Yelp review to a contract dispute lawsuit turned the entire case on its head.

"Extortion by way of the court system to try and get money out of somebody and punish somebody for having spoken the truth," White said.

In all, White says he ended up paying $65,000 in legal fees after settling with Footprints Floors out of court for 15,000.

However, he said he also had to pay two companies to fix the floors.

The president of Footprints Floors, Bryan Park issued a statement to KDVR, which reads in part:

"We recently had an experience that I hope to never go through again. One of our customers expressed dissatisfaction with our work. We offered to fix all of the problems. I personally did everything I could to meet his needs. He still wasn't satisfied and made online comments that, in our view, were not true. After a drawn-out legal process, the case was settled last month when this client ultimately paid us for the floor we installed. This attack hurt our business's bottom line, yes, but more importantly, it hurt our reputation. We take our reputation, both on and offline, very seriously because we know it is what has allowed us to succeed."

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