Stores push back against social media defamation

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Staff members Sarah Turner, Brandon Taylor and Loshni Mercuri.
Camera IconStaff members Sarah Turner, Brandon Taylor and Loshni Mercuri. Credit: Michael Traill

Betta Home Living’s Loshni Mercuri said she has had enough of social media users making false claims online that hurt her business’ reputation.

Ms Mercuri said that disgruntled customers far too often used the threat of social media slander to get their way at the expense of local merchants.

In the most recent online tirade against Betta Home Living, one Facebook user claimed her son had been called a thief by staff after the store would not refund an item that didn’t have proof of purchase.

Ms Mercuri profusely denies the allegations, and urges customers with genuine complaints to follow the right channels of speaking to staff and management before lodging a written complaint.

“You can’t get on to Facebook and lie because at the end of the day we are trying keep our doors open and it’s a struggle in a country town, you’ve got staff and wages to pay,” she said.

“I have spoken to many of the other business owners in town, and they feel the exact same way, they’re done with Facebook and it’s sort of a dark cloud hanging over every business and it shouldn’t be that. It’s bullying if you don’t have proof and facts, it’s got to that point now.”

Ms Mercuri said the store welcomed constructive criticism, however, some in the community use the threat of social media defamation to extort the business.

“Asking someone for proof of purchase is the law, if you walk into Coles you need a receipt to exchange mayonnaise,” she said.

“We appreciate feedback, if it’s negative, that’s fine as long as it is true, because it gives us an opportunity to fix what we are doing wrong and to better ourselves for the future. But you cannot put stuff up online if it’s not true, that’s wrong.”

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