Mediabridge Threatens Negative Reviewer, Gets Amazon Bombed and Loses Selling License

Medialink Router

Barbara Streisand would be proud. Well folks, here we have another lesson on why it’s never good to overreact to a negative review.

Mr. T. Gehman posted a negative review of a Medialink N 300mbs router, claiming it was a re-branded Chinese router from Tenda (the FCC filings really do appear to confirm this). That review managed to make it to the top as the “most helpful” negative review for the product. However, instead of responding to the negative review eloquently in a manufacturer response, Mediabridge, the parent company, decided to go lawyer mode and threatened to sue Mr. Gehman if he did not remove his negative review.

Naturally, Mr. Gehman posted it on Reddit, seeking legal advice.

What followed was not only an Amazon Bomb (last I checked, the 1-star reviews were about to hit 900), but an annulment of Mediabridge’s selling license for their routers on Amazon. Mediabridge has since posted a very long response to the incident on their Facebook page defending their actions:

On September 26, 2013, a review was posted on Amazon, attacking our company’s ethical conduct. An individual that had never even purchased our product posted a “review” stating that all of our positive reviews are fake. Effectively, the individual outright accused us of either writing positive reviews for our own products or paying an outside company to do it for us. Cut & pasted exactly as it appeared on Amazon (until yesterday when it was changed) is the review pictured below.

The review was not made as an innocent statement of opinion. Instead, it was made as an outright statement of something he knew to be a fact, when in truth it was completely untrue: “but I’m here to warn you: A lot of these reviews are fake”. Our company’s products have thousands of positive reviews, but we have on occasion seen comments that say something like “these reviews seem fishy” or even “these reviews seem fake”. But in this case, the reviewer stated outright as though he knew it to be fact “a lot of these reviews are fake”. This was done in the most public forum, & in the very spot where our products are displayed. It would be like seeing a sign at a Ford dealership, right next to a Mustang that says “this car was made with child labor”. Very different from saying “I heard somewhere that Ford may be using child labor”. What would Ford do? What would you do if you owned a handyman business & someone posted an ad in the township newspaper stating that you steal from your clients?

Some may mistakenly believe that this is not a very big deal & that we should have just let it blow over. However, we learned from experience that statements like these do not always just blow over. In fact, the last time this same false accusation was made, we spent 2 years defending ourselves. 2 years. Do we have any rights? Should we have any rights?

Our corporate attorney sent him a letter requesting he remove the review. We fully expected he would simply do so, or at least change the review so it was not making any defamatory statements. We were publicly being accused of unethical acts & requesting it to stop. Our goal was to have the false accusation removed. Was this unreasonable?

Rather than do this, the reviewer took to Reddit & claimed he was being sued for a negative review. Unfortunately, this was a gross misinterpretation of written facts:
1) He wasn’t being sued. The letter he received informed him that he was making an untrue, damaging & disparaging statement against our company & that we were informing him we intended to take action if he did not fix it.
2) Our letter had nothing whatsoever to do with a complaint over his “negative” review. Our complaint with his review pertained to untrue, damaging & disparaging statements he made in a public forum. Again, all he had to do was correct his untrue & damaging statements. Suing over a simple negative review would be silly. Over the 6 years we have been selling our products on Amazon & the thousands of reviews we’ve received, if we were inclined to take such a silly action, we would have done so long before now. So obviously, suing over a negative review is a distortion.

By the next morning, 700 individuals posted 1-star reviews on our product. These individuals acted on a post by someone they didn’t even know; they didn’t know whether there was any truth to what was said, or whether important facts were omitted or if things were distorted. Just as recklessly as the reviewer, they unleashed fury on our company & in doing so, on its employees.

Sometimes people look at companies as just a business. Maybe the reviewer thought he was just harming the ownership of the business. But, in fact every company is a company of people. People with families, children, mortgages. If he does harm the company, who will he harm the most?

It’s our sincere belief that reasonable people understand that not only is it within our rights to take steps to protect our integrity, but that it should be expected that we would do so when it is recklessly attacked. The reviewer has since changed his review completely to remove the libelous statements, but unfortunately not before having an army attack us on the internet.

Some blogs have picked up on the misinformation that was posted on Reddit & added to the confusion, by saying that we were suing this individual over a negative review. This is simply not true. Again, in summary, there are 2 main points to communicate here:
1) He wasn’t being sued. The letter he received informed him that he was making an untrue, damaging & disparaging statement against our company & that we were informing him we intended to take action if he did not fix it.
2) Our letter had nothing whatsoever to do with a complaint over the fact that his review was “negative”. Our complaint with his review pertained to untrue, damaging & disparaging statements he made in a public forum. Again, all he had to do was correct his untrue & damaging statements.

Unfortunately, as a result of our attempt to get this reviewer to do the right thing & remove his untrue statements about our company, Amazon has revoked our selling privileges. Many hard-working employees whose livelihood depended on that business will likely be put out of a job, by a situation that has been distorted & blown out of proportion. This is the reality of the situation. Remember that there is a human aspect to this story.

We want to thank those who have waited to hear the full story before forming their opinion. For those that were misinformed, we hope you will find our story to be helpful in answering any questions you may have about what actually occurred.

Now did the internet overreact? Perhaps, but so did Mediabridge asking their corporate lawyer to send such a scary legal document. I also believe that Amazon has a policy in place banning sellers from influencing reviewers this way.

As of now, the Medialink router still appears on Amazon, so you can buy the relic if you want. I personally wouldn’t recommend it though; I actually own one of the things and it would continously disconnect from my Macbook Pro. I switched to an ASUS RT-N66U instead.

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