By Brad Dickerson
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The owner of a North Myrtle Beach restaurant has filed a lawsuit against a customer who posted a negative review on the eatery’s Facebook page the plaintiff says is libelous.
According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, plaintiff Weldon Boyd purchased the formerly named Buoys Beach Bar and Grille in March. Once the sale was finalized, the restaurant was renamed Buoys on the Boulevard.
Prior to the sale, the former owner gave coupons to potential customers for lunch or dinner for two up to $30. That coupon said the restaurant was associated with the Grand Strand Dining Group Family of Restaurants, the lawsuit stated.
According to court documents, the owner and his LLC, High Hook, are not affiliated with the Grand Strand Dining Group.
In late October, the defendant, identified in the lawsuit as Doreen Gale-Alfano, came to Buoys on the Boulevard with a gentleman and ordered drinks. She then presented the coupon and tried to order food, at which time staff explained the restaurant was under new ownership and they couldn’t honor the coupon.
The staff offered to not charge for the drinks in a “good faith effort,” but the customer was still not satisfied, the lawsuit states.
After another attempt to provide free drinks, Gale-Alfano allegedly refused the offer again and stated that she would “… destroy you on social media.”
Staff told the defendant she could use the coupon at another area restaurant, at which time she and the man left without having eaten any food. A few minutes later, she checked into another eatery on Facebook, court documents state.
“On or about November 1, 2018, Defendant falsely posted on Buoy’s Facebook page a one star review stating ‘Awful food….found a worm in my sushi. Also had a fast crawling bug on the wall. The Junga game is a germ carrier. Go and enjoy if you don’t care cuz the new owner doesn’t at all,’” the lawsuit states.
As of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, that review – dated Oct. 30 – was still on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Buoy’s staff offered the following response to the review:
"Hi Doreen, your visit last night is on our camera and you never ordered any food. NO SUSHI was made for you. You and your father came in last night with a $30.00 off coupon dated October 2017 from Grand Strand Dining Group. We bought the business in March 2018 and are not affiliated with Grand Strand Dining Group.
We tried to explain that and you were livid because we would not accept the coupon. We did comp out a Grey Goose Martini, a beer and a coke. We also let you know to go to Duffy Street to redeem the coupon.
I did see where you went there after you left here. I can post the video of your entire visit on our camera playback and see where only drinks were at your table. I find it really sad that you would stoop so low to post lies about a business because of your anger. You did let the staff know that you would get on social media and ruin our business. Those are your own words."
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff contacted Facebook and requested the comments be removed. That request was denied.
The plaintiff also accuses the defendant of slander, saying she “has knowingly spoken false or reckless allegations.” He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
A message was left for Gale-Alfano seeking comment.
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