I received an email from someone at Holiday Swap threatening to sue me for defamation of character. They point to my reviews of the network, in which I discuss the many fake-looking listings and the outrageous claims of membership growth.
I’m not a lawyer, but a quick review of defamation law in both the US and the UK suggests to me that this is just an attempt at intimidation. And an odd one, coming several years after I’ve written anything about Holiday Swap.
Everything I have written about Holiday Swap is based on what I found on their app. And the posts include lots of screen shots backing up my statements. I did request an interview with Holiday Swap when I first started writing about the network. They never responded.
I see that Holiday Swap has changed their network quite a bit since I last wrote the reviews. I’ll work on a new review. And I hope to find that they now have legit listings and are running a serious home exchange network.
Here’s the email threatening lawsuit if I don’t remove my posts:
James Asquith, CEO of Holiday Swap, is a respected professional within the travel industry, and has spent his life building a positive reputation.
Nevertheless, we have been informed that you have been maliciously spreading inaccurate and unfounded information that is damaging to their personal and professional character.
It is unlawful for an individual to make deliberate statements that intend to harm a person’s reputation or business without factual evidence or based on hearsay.
The defamatory statements include, but are not limited to, the following article;
The false statements that you have made are reckless and highly defamatory, and have the potential to cause substantial and economic harm to Mr Asquith’s business and his character and reputation.
If you do not cease all related statements, a defamation of character lawsuit will be commenced against you.
We hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist from making any and all false and defamatory statements against both Mr Asquith and Holiday Swap, and with immediate effect remove all defamatory statements and content related to the aforementioned article and publish a retraction.
Hopefully, there will be no need for this type of recourse, but if we have to protect our interests, we are prepared to do so in a court of law.
This is the first and last warning letter.
If you fail to confirm or respond to our letter in writing by Friday 24th September 2021 that you will discontinue the specified illegal activity, then we will have no choice but to file a lawsuit against you immediately.
Yours faithfully[name redacted at the request of the writer]
If any lawyers are reading this, I’d welcome your advice on appropriate actions regarding this threatened lawsuit.
We are really sorry to hear that. Sharetraveler reviews and analyses have always been an excellent snapshot of the home exchange and share traveling industry. We consider the reviews to be both fair and professional. Dawn’s shared insight and knowledge helped us to incorporate improvements to our website and we have always considered it to be a valuable resource. I take the opportunity to thank you for the great work you do in bringing us accurate and useful information about the home exchange business. Andrea Aguiar from BeLocal
Related defamation info can be found in the April 11 2018 Business Insider article. “When Business Insider checked out the app (Holiday Swap app) earlier this week, it was clear that a proportion of the profiles weren’t for properties, exactly: Asquith said these are leftovers from an earlier testing process, and that they have now been phased out.”
I’m really sorry to hear of this aggressive response to your review from Holiday Swap. I have the utmost respect for your fair and balanced approach to reviews of all home exchange companies and hope that this is soon resolved.