Defending Your Company From Unfair Competition (Slander/False Accusations)

You’ve worked hard to build your company. Deceptive and wrongful business practices can cause economic injury to your business. The law of unfair competition protects companies from fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. Companies can recover losses resulting from these practices. 

Our experienced South Carolina business attorneys handle complex business tort cases like unfair competition claims. We are seasoned trial lawyers with extensive experience litigating business torts to protect our clients’ business interests. If your company has been damaged because of slander, false allegations, or other deceptive business practices, contact our office to speak with an attorney. 

Understanding Unfair Competition

Unfair competition can crush a small business, making it impossible for the business to compete in the marketplace. Companies engage in many forms of unfair competition, including trademark infringement, fraud, interference with business relationships, and theft of trade secrets.

Slander and false accusations are another form of unfair competition. Defamation is false communications about your business that are likely to result in damage to your business’s reputation and economic loss. Slander is a type of defamation that occurs when someone makes false statements with malicious intent to cause harm to your business. For example, your competitor creates negative reviews about your company online or tells people your company is being investigated for defective products. 

The South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act gives businesses a framework for bringing action against companies and individuals who use slander and false accusations as unfair methods of competition. However, these claims are complex and require an experienced business defamation lawyer to handle the case. 

Identifying Slander and False Accusations

A defamatory statement is a false allegation that can severely disrupt business. The elements of slander and false accusations are:

  • A person or company made a false statement about your business
  • The statement was spoken or written to a third party
  • The party acted with negligence or intent to harm
  • The statement damaged your business

There is a difference between legitimate competition and unfair practices. Companies make statements to convince consumers to use their services or purchase their products. However, when a company fails to verify statements and accusations as accurate, they could be negligent. Likewise, intentionally making false accusations to hurt a company reveals malice and aforethought. 

Legal Remedies for Allegations of Unfair Competition 

Slander and false accusations against your company can damage your reputation, decrease your customer base, discourage new customers, lower employee morale, and decrease your bottom line. You have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages and other remedies. Damages a business could recover from unfair competition include:

  • Injunctive relief to stop the party from continuing to make defamatory and slanderous statements
  • Compensatory damages for actual losses 
  • Attorney’s fees and expenses for the filing of the action

The court may also award treble damages if the party willfully and knowingly violated the law by making statements to harm your business intentionally. 

Preventative Measures for Businesses

It can be difficult to prevent unfair competition because you cannot control what another company or person says or does. A company can use contracts to prevent unfair competition by including non-disclosure clauses and confidentiality agreements. However, these contracts only apply to vendors, employees, and third parties engaging with the company. 

A company can try to protect itself from accusations of wrongdoing by never misleading customers, misrepresenting a product or service, making false guarantees, engaging in price switching, or concealing pertinent information. However, the best way to protect your company from unfair competition is to retain a South Carolina business lawyer as soon as you suspect wrongdoing or fraudulent behavior. The sooner you stop unfair competition, the less your business may suffer. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With a South Carolina Business Attorney

The best way to protect your business from slander and false accusations is with the help of an experienced South Carolina business attorney. At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, our legal team fiercely defends you and your company against unfair competition. We pursue claims against the responsible parties to recover compensation for the damages and losses your business sustained. Schedule a consultation today to discuss how we can help you protect the business you’ve worked hard to establish.