Footprints Floors provided Matt White and his fiancée, Amanda Jameer, with poor service, so he did as most other scorned consumers do nowadays. He left a scathing review on Yelp.
“Absolutely horrible experience,” White wrote back in 2013. “I have 4,000 square feet of sandpaper on the floor and Footprints believes there is nothing wrong. I have shoe prints in the stain, dust, debris and filler trapped under my stain…. The quality of the work is absolutely deplorable.”
One year later, Denver-based Footprints Floors slapped him with a defamation lawsuit, which cost him about $65,000 in legal fees — twice what he claimed to have given two companies to fix his floors. In the lawsuit, Footprints Floors estimated that White’s review cost them 167 projects, and $625,000 in revenue between January 1, and August 1, 2014.
The lawsuit, White said, was a blatant attack on free speech.
“Extortion by way of the court system to try and get money out of somebody and punish somebody for having spoken the truth,” said White.
“I feel like we’re being bullied. It’s still unbelievable to me even though we’ve been going through this for a year,” said Jameer.
Bryan Park, president of Footprints Floors, declined an on-camera interview with Denver’s FOX 31, saying Footprint Floors would respond to questions via email. However, the company ignored the questions, instead releasing a lengthy statement.
“We recently had an experience that I hope to never go through again. One of our customers expressed dissatisfaction with our work. We offered to fix all of the problems. I personally did everything I could to meet his needs. He still wasn’t satisfied and made online comments that, in our view, were not true,” read the statement. “After a drawn-out legal process, the case was settled last month when this client ultimately paid us for the floor we installed.”
At the end of it all, White settled his case for $15,000, saying it was cheaper than going to trial. Perhaps next time White might do what 70% of Americans do — go with carpeting instead of hardwood flooring.
In the agreement, Footprints Floors tried to get White to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would have prevented him from discussing the case.