We've all done it.

We've either eaten at a restaurant or done business with someone where we were less than satisfied with the service and decided to let people know of the negative experience. It's the reason that some businesses fear websites like Yelp that can sway public sentiment and cost thousands of dollars with one negative write-up.

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It's also why companies are going to great lengths to protect their online reputations, as one Lubbock man recently discovered.

According to KAMC-TV/EverythingLubbock.com, Tim Castleman hired an Irish company to help him grow his online business. After some time, Castleman discovered that the company had made some errors that would result in an $8,000 loss. After fruitlessly attempting to solve the issue, Castleman decided to share his experiences and post a negative review of the company online.

Then, he got sued.

After Castleman posted his scathing commentary, the Irish company demanded that he take down his critique, and claimed that he now owed them $300,000 for defamation. When he refused to take down the post or pay for damages, the company chose to take it up a notch and filed suit against him.

To make matters worse, Castleman claimed to have never received notice of the hearing. So, when he didn't respond, a Lubbock judge defaulted the suit to the company, which immediately put him $60,000 in the hole.

Just for leaving a negative review.  

Over time, the bills and interest have piled up, leaving Castleman owing hundreds of thousands of dollars that he could not pay, and has ultimately cost him everything. Castleman explained to KAMC-TV:

“I took a lot of pride in my business and all of that is taken away from me and you’re helpless, there is nothing. I can’t yell and scream enough to get anyone to do anything”

He is now appealing the Lubbock judge's decision. But relief, if it comes, could be up to 15 months away.

Just for leaving a negative review.  

Incredible. The moral of the story is, be careful what you post. And careful who you leave a negative review for. If you can't say anything nice, then you'd better lawyer up.

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