Islington surgery files £125k lawsuit over one-star Yelp review

Alison Dore

Alison Dore - Credit: Archant

A patient who is being sued for £125,000 over an online review of an Islington dental practice has likened the situation to living in North Korea.

Alison Dore, 46, of Clapton, could be taken to court by B Dental, Islington Park Street, after criticising their service on popular review site Yelp.

Ms Dore had been referred to the practice by the NHS when she needed implants in August and was due to spend £10,000 there, but cancelled the procedure when B Dental said they could not help her with toothache prior to her operation.

She posted a one-star review titled “Terrible service – avoid at all costs” in October but was contacted by B Dental in November, first offering her a partial refund to sign a gagging order and then informing her of the lawsuit.

“We’re not living in North Korea, it’s awful that we can’t speak our own opinions,” said Ms Dore, a TV producer.

“At the end of the day it’s a review website where people have the right to voice their opinion, good or bad.

“The astronomical figure they’ve come up with is ridiculous.

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“They tried to say my review would jeopardise nurses with children. The dentist that I saw was fantastic and I praised him in the review, but I wasn’t impressed by the fact that they wouldn’t help me with my toothache seemingly because there’s no money in it.”

B Dental has a number of four and five star reviews from seasoned Yelp users going back as far as 2010.

Ms Dore’s story has led to messages of support from across the world regarding issues of freedom of speech as well as attracting an attack on British defamation laws from Yelp.

Yelp has even had to remove a number of one star reviews made from as far afield as the US.

Elliot Adams, head of communications at Yelp, said: “Businesses need to know that they can’t please people all the time. They’re getting great consumer feedback and should use it to their advantage.”

Ms Dore said she planned to try to raise money to fight the lawsuit.

“I won’t be bullied, we live in a land of free speech,” she said.

“I want to raise awareness because this will only get worse.”

B Dental did not respond to a request for comment. But in the lawsuit it denies leaving Ms Dore in pain and says she cancelled a number of appointments.