Joan Brownlee (not her real name) wrote to me asking how she could deal with what she considered to be libellous postings about her on a website.
She is a member of a site where people write reviews about products, and she said her reviews had often won praise.
But she claims a couple of people disagreed and started posting messages accusing her of plagiarism on a forum for members of the site - one unrelated to the original website.
Mrs Brownlee came to me because she felt she couldn't get anyone from the forum website to listen to her concerns.
She gave me the web address of both the site she sometimes writes for and the web forum where she said the messages had been posted.
I looked at the forum but could not find any of the messages that were upsetting her, so the person who hosts the site may have taken them down.
I also talked to the people at Ciao.co.uk, the website where she posts her reviews, and they were very concerned about the problem. But as they have nothing to do with the forum where the messages were posted there was nothing they could do.
They pointed out that if someone posted libellous or offensive comments on their site they would remove the messages and probably the membership of the writer, and the site states this clearly in its terms and conditions of membership.
"We are very strict about this and if we saw any evidence on our websites we would deal with it immediately," said Max Cartellieri, the managing director of Ciao AG, the company that runs the site.
But I was unable to take the matter further because Mrs Brownlee was so upset by the messages that she asked me not to pursue the case.
"I am worried that if I do take matters further the situation will only get worse and I couldn't face that," she said.
Mrs Brownlee is not alone and people should realise there is redress.
Taking the legal route should always be a last resort as the process can be daunting and expensive.
Most companies that host websites don't want to be associated with this type of behaviour. If they don't react promptly to complaints they could be liable for damages if defamation can be proved.
"I find that writing to the hosting company or owner of the site telling them to remove the offending message works wonders," said Jon Fell, a partner in law firm Masons.
A defamatory statement is one that tends to lower a person in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally or to cause him or her to be shunned or avoided.
If a posting exposes the person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or disparages them in their profession, calling or business, it is also considered defamatory.
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