Cease-and-Desist Claims Regarding Google Reviews in Austria
Cease-and-Desist Claims Regarding Google Reviews in Austria

Online reviews are anonymous in most cases. We have previously addressed the topic of anonymous reviews in our blog, as well as how one can take action against review platforms, such as Google. Naturally, there are also cases where the reviewer is known to the reviewed company. In 2020, the Supreme Court (OGH) commented on cease-and-desist claims regarding Google reviews and potential claims for damages in Austria.

Google Review of a Realtor

The case before the OGH involved a realtor who received the following one-star review on Google:

"Very condescending attitude towards customers/tenants. Realtor insulted, threatened, and denounced tenants during apartment handover – an absolutely unprofessional behavior. Fortunately, there are other realtors who treat people with respect."

A review was posted by the defendant. The realtor had been hired by the defendant's parents, who were unaware of the review. He based the review on the fact that the realtor did not greet his parents with a handshake and used the term "upstart" in reference to them.

The defendant argued, among other things, that Google reviews are not taken "at face value." It turned out, that the specific statements or behaviors were not provable.

Cease-and-Desist Claims Regarding Google Reviews in Austria for False Statements of Fact

False statements of fact are not protected by the right to freedom of expression because "the false accusation of having insulted, threatened, and denounced someone cannot be tolerated [...] in reviews of companies on internet platforms any more than false accusations of other criminal acts."

Thus, the claim against the reviewer was successful insofar as they must refrain from such reviews against the realtor. The realtor's demand was therefore justified.

Austrian Supreme Court: OGH: No Compensation for the Realtor Without Proven Damage

In principle, compensation may be available for false statements of fact on the internet. In the specific case, the realtor sought EUR 2000 in damages but was unsuccessful. The plaintiff did not sufficiently explain how the statements had harmed them and how the value of the business had decreased due to the review.


If the reviewer is known and the review is based on a false statement of fact, action can be taken against the reviewer themselves. Claiming compensation is also possible, but it must be well substantiated.

Do you have further questions?

Do you have questions about our services or would you like to consult with a lawyer regarding the deletion of negative Google reviews? We will assess the situation with you and can often assert deletion claims against the reviewer or against Google. Please feel free to contact our law firm at office@geuer.at or by phone at +43-1-4380072. We look forward to your inquiry.

Link to the decision

OGH 10.09.2020, 6 Ob 135/20a (German)

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