Chicago Company Sues woman 50K over Tweet

On July 28, 2009, wrote:

I wrote a post about social media monitoring last week and in the news today is a Chicago company that is suing one of their tenants for $50,000. horizon-property

This lawsuit is already making waves at popular social media news site- mashable. Within the first two hours of the story being posted their are about 900 people tweeting and 115 comments on the blog.

mashable-comments

The tenant Amanda Bonnen made a comment on her twitter about mold in her apartment.

“Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.”

The reason this story is already grabbing the attention of the social media community is the fact that Horizon’s Jeffrey Michael is quoted in the Sun-Times as saying “The statements are obviously false, and it’s our intention to prove that”, adding that Horizon has a good reputation to protect. Bonnen wasn’t contacted before the suit was filed or asked to remove the Tweet, he said: “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization”.

Sue first and ask later type of organization- that was a bad move by Jeffrey in this social media world. That quote will be used in sound bytes and undoubtedly hundreds of blog posts that will be written as a follow up to this story.

In his attempt to protect the company’s good name- they will be getting a backlash from not approaching this is situation in the appropriate manner. (ie Suing your customer before investigating) If they would have stated that they have investigated and found that her statement is false and libel, they would have had some ground to stand upon. This is just further evidence that every company needs to have a social media/ PR strategy in place for situations like this, and if you ever find your company in a situation like this, give us a call- it might save you from the hurricane of negative press that is about to hit Horizon Reality.

UPDATE*
Just as I thought, twitter has been getting pounded by people commenting on this company- As our social media specialist Brandon says “Instead of 20 people knowing how shitty Horizon Realty is, the entire internet does. Well played.”

Here is a screen shot of a search for Horizon Realty and it looks like he made the local CBS and NBC affiliates in Chicago as well as the leading story on CNET.

horizon-mentions-on-twitter


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One response to “Chicago Company Sues woman 50K over Tweet”

  1. Jenn says:

    I don’t think Horizon had any clue what they were getting themselves into. I didn’t hear about the “sue first, investigate later” remark. Holy crap! I will definitely remember not to ever work with Horizon now. So if they’re goal is to push away customers, they did a great job.

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