So, late last night Baby’s Days updated their official like page to display the following message:
This has since been remove from their like page, so if you look for it you will not find it. Then at 9.50pm I received an urgent legal correspondence via email from Baby’s Days solicitors. I can not publish the letter here as it was marked confidential, but I believe that I am entitled to publish my response.
I sent the following (sorry, it’s long!) letter to Baby’s Days solicitors this afternoon at approximately 3pm. I have chosen to publish my reply because Baby’s Days and members of it’s Official Support Group have publicly accused me of, “stating lies / false / libellous / defamation / other information” and hopefully this legal response will clear these accusations up.
Below is the letter in full. I have omitted to include the address of parties involved for security reason:
“”Thank you for your recent email. Although I do not usually accept letters from solicitors via email (much like your client doesn’t accept complaints via email), as your client regards this to be an ‘urgent legal’ matter I will in this instance respond electronically. Please ensure any future correspondence is sent to my home address, as above.
It is with grave concern I read your letter; it has never been and is still not my intention to cause your client any unnecessary harm. As you will see from the first post on the blog I advise all readers where they can visit to get positive reviews, thus providing them with a rounded and balanced view of the company. I have also gone to extreme lengths to comment that the system is very sophisticated at what it does and that it has helped simplify my paperwork greatly. I have however posted about my negative experience with the support staff, because, well my experience with the support staff was negative.
I will look at the issue you raise in turn and hope that this letter clarifies some matters for your client. I will not go into the legalities of how your client has treated me because that is to be dealt with separately to your clients current claims. I respectfully inform you that this letter will be posted on my blog in the interest of transparency, but I do understand you wish your communication with me to remain confidential and I respect that wish.
I am sorry that your client feels my posts are defamatory. I am extremely careful with my blog and I only post about the experience that I or others have had in a factual manner. Each post I make is evidenced and is my interpretation of the facts. The defamatory extracts, point 1-5 you provide, are again, in my opinion, my interpretation of the facts as they occurred. It is my understanding that Sys IQ Lts/Baby’s Days have;
1. Breached data protection by refusing my subject access request, as evidenced on the blog
2. Misrepresented their intentions re customers eligibility for updates, as evidenced on the blog
3. Have blackmailed me in an attempt to get me to remove my blog, as evidenced on the blog
4. Are (or rather were) holding me to ransom by asking me to remove the blog before they resumed their contractual obligations regarding the subscription service, as evidenced on the blog
5. Worked alongside Kel (Kelly) Thomas, directing customers to the Official Support Group, where Kel (Kelly) Thomas and possibly others have censored posts within the support group, as evidenced on the blog.
On what authority does your client find these comments to be untruthful and as such amounting to defamatory allegations? Please can you provide sufficient explanation so that I can appreciate why the blog posts are inaccurate or unsupportable.
I acknowledge that some of the wording used is very strong and as a gesture of goodwill to your client (and not because I accept fault or liability) I am happy to remove the blog tags, ‘bullies’, ‘blackmail’ and ‘intimidation’ as you request. I will not remove any others as I believe the tags to be representative and fair based on the facts. What would your client consider a more fitting alternative?
My understanding of the laws surrounding malicious falsehoods is that it safeguards against false statements that are made which do not constitute defamation by their nature yet may still cause damage. I understand that your client believes my actions may have caused his company harm, however, everything on my blog is my interpretation of the facts and is well evidenced. It is not false and as such cannot be considered to be a malicious falsehood.
On what authority are you relying to accuse me of making malicious falsehoods? Please can you provide sufficient explanation so that I can appreciate why the blog posts may be considered malicious falsehoods.
I believe that harassment is defined as contacting someone on two or more occasions when you know they do not want to be contacted. I was very careful to only contact customers who I believed may have had a negative experience with Sys IQ Ltd/Baby’s Days, customers I felt may benefit from reading the blog or customers that asked me to contact them. I also only contacted each person once, apart from one lady who was accidentally sent the same message twice. I was also not violent or aggressive, but very factual. As such I do not believe the contact that I had with these customers could be described as harassment. I will continue to inform customers where appropriate about my blog.
As your client urged its customers (as evidenced on the blog) to report my posts to Facebook, Facebook have, to my knowledge, carried out their own review and have not found my messages to be harassment.
Lastly on this point, approximately 3/4 of the people I contacted were very appreciative and thanked me for contacting them with the link to the blog.
Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights
Please could you explain what you mean about my application of the trademark to the blog as being detrimental? What it is your client believes I am using in my blog that infringes the companies Intellectual Property Rights? Under UK Copyright Law, I believe I am allowed to use a piece of copyrighted material, or have ‘fair dealing’ for the purpose of criticism and news reporting. Please could you clarify your clients stance on this.
First of all, I have never documented anywhere, either on my blog or other channels that, “their data is unsecure”. Again, I have gone to extreme lengths to ensure all readers of the blog understand that their data is as secure as it can be reasonably be expected to be. I have stated that it is not 100% secure – this is the truth as I have reasonable grounds to believe. I invited Sys IQ Ltd/Baby’s Days to comment on my findings and they declined. I also backed up my opinion with factual evidence.
I refute the claim that I have ever stated, “their data is unsecure”. If your client can demonstrate their data is “100% secure” as they claim, I will happily amend my blog post, as I have already informed them.
I am extremely sorry if I have caused “serious financial loss”, to Sys IQ Ltd/Baby’s Days. I am not, nor have I ever, asked customers to leave the service or cancel their subscription. On the contrary I have gone to extreme lengths to praise the abilities of the system that Sys IQ Ltd/Baby’s Days have developed. Any loss suffered by Sys IQ Ltd/Baby’s Days is not of my doing; their own customers are choosing to leave them and any potential customers are choosing not to use them. I am reporting my experience in a factual, documented manner. If this is causing your client “serious financial loss” then I respectfully advise them to seriously rethink their current customer facing strategies or alternatively explain why they believe their date to be “100% secure” as they claim.
On what authority do you believe the “excessive financial loss” to be my doing given that my publication is factual? I hope your client and I can find an amicable resolution to the dispute we find ourselves in. But unfortunately I am not prepared to:
1. Remove my blog, or posts from other websites.
2. Provide you with details of all the posts I have made and all the people I have made the allegations to. My blog has had over 13,400 views at the time of writing so I hope you can understand the difficulties behind that.
3. Provide an apology or retraction in a form to be agreed with by your client and to be distributed by your client. I have expressed in this letter that I am sorry if my blog has caused your client, “serious financial loss” as this has never been my intention.
4. Compensate your client for financial damages, as it is my belief that any damages suffered are your clients own doing, either by the initial handling of my case or by your clients subsequent reactions which were posted on both Facebook and Twitter.
I am however committed as ever to ensuring that no defamatory statements are made towards your clients or its employees. It would be helpful if your client could provide me with a list of current employees so that I can ensure this does not happen. I would also respectfully suggest your client ensures his associates that run his companies Official Support Group on Facebook also refrain from making defamatory statements, which are both malicious and false and which set out to damage my reputation as an Ofsted registered childminder. If this is to happen again, he and his associates will receive a letter from my solicitor.
Moving forward, as I have already advised your client I am more than happy to remove my blog provided that:
1. The subscription service is returned and updated with its data intact.
2. Any customers that didn’t receive the update due to their perceived relationship with me should receive the update.
3. There should be a promise made that where updates are available they will be made to all paying customers accounts, the T&Cs should be changed to reflect this promise within 1 week.
4. Kel Thomas, the administrator of the Baby’s Days Official Support Group on Facebook shall remove her defamatory comment from the group regarding my “evil nature”. I would also like her to apologise on the Group for calling my reputation as a childminder into disrepute. I would also like to publish this apology on my blog. Your client may feel that this does not involve him as Kel Thomas is apparently not an employee. However, I would stress that she is the administrator on the “Offfical Baby’s Days support Group” the only Facebook group to be endorsed by Baby’s Days. By endorsing this group they are wholly liable for the defamatory remarks made by the administrator there.
5. I will have access to the support group so that I can ensure no further defamatory notices are posted. I have no interest in posting in this support group ad as such accept limited posting rights.
6. I will not waiver my right to publish this blog again should Baby’s Days illegally terminate the subscription service in the future.
I hope that we can find a happy ending for both parties regarding our current predicament.
So there we have it readers, clarification on why I believe this blog to be legal and truthful, which will hopefully clear up any misunderstanding currently circling on Facebook and Twitter.
Tomorrow I will be blogging about how Customer Support have responded to some of my previous technical issues and some of the technical solutions they provide and the accuracy of their replies in addition to exploring the claim that Baby’s Days are/have/will train Ofsted inspectors.