I'm launching a website that compares estate agents in terms of how many houses they have sold etc. In a purely data based type of way rather than any views or opinions.
Am I in danger of being sued by disgruntled agents if I get this wrong and paint them in an unfavourable light?
I am obviously taking every possible step to insure accuracy but of course the nature of computer programming is that errors are always a possibilty.
If it is possible that inaccurate data could cause reputational damage to an estate agent, then it is possible that they could seek redress through the courts - most likely with a claim in defamation.
There is risk, however, in all activities - even putting on your socks.
You should include appropriate disclaimers on the site, making it clear to users that the data may not be 100% accurate, and preferably detailing the ways in which it may not be accurate.
If you do this, and:
- inaccuracies are likely to be rare or non-material;
- the loss to any agent caused by an inaccuracy is likely to be minimal; and
- you act promptly to correct any in accuracies that are notified to you (consider including a special reporting facility),
then the risk is likely low.