Employee's Yelp Review on Competitor Costs Him $34.5K

'Incensed' rival did his own detective work to find out who posted phony review
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2017 9:50 AM CDT
Employee's Yelp Review on Competitor Costs Him $34.5K
A Yelp review gone wrong.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

"No one should have to go through this, not children, adults, elderly," Stephen Blumberg tells CBS Boston, and a jury apparently agreed with him. The cause of Blumberg's emotional turmoil: a fake, "inflammatory" Yelp review of his Massachusetts jewelry store posted by the son of a competitor, per NBC Boston. A jury decided March 22 that Adam Jacobs, whose father owns Toodie's Fine Jewelry, had purposely put up a false, multi-paragraph diss about Blumberg's store, Stephen Leigh Jewelers, in August 2013; Jacobs has to now pay Blumberg $34,500 for emotional distress, the Patriot Ledger reports. The "guest" who supposedly wrote the review said he'd visited Blumberg's store to buy a diamond engagement ring and "left this place sick to my stomach," calling the shop "the biggest thief on the South Shore."

But Blumberg, who tells NBC he was "incensed" by the review, says that interaction never took place—and he started digging to find out who the "Adam J." who'd posted it really was. His months-long detective work had him sifting through other Yelp reviews written by the same person and calling those reviewed businesses; eventually he was able to connect the dots. Blumberg says he had never met Jacobs, who works at his father's store, before this and "had no beef" with either him or his dad. The jury did let Toodie's, which had also been named in Blumberg's December 2013 complaint, off the hook. An attorney for Toodie's and Jacobs says his clients are glad about Toodie's vindication, but "disappointed" about the decision on Jacobs, which they may appeal. (A petsitting company decided a bad Yelp review was worth up to a $1 million.)

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