If someone threatens to sue your business, you need to set time aside to resolve the matter. How much time you need to dedicate and how you solve it are not something you can answer straight away.
To work these things out, it helps to ask yourself a few questions:
- Have we done anything wrong?
Try to get more than one version of the “facts” from your staff on what has happened. Don’t be overly defensive. Then check your business contract to see if you have indeed breached any agreement or if the other party is clutching at straws.
- How far are they willing to go?
Litigation is a last resort for most people. Many people believe its threat will be enough to get you to give them what they want. How much money is at stake? Would the complainant really sue for that amount?
- How much does this relationship mean to me?
If this is someone you never want to see again, your attitude may be very different than if they are a loyal client whose business you cannot afford to lose.
- What are the broader consequences?
Sometimes damage limitation needs to be your priority. For example, you run a hotel, and a client threatens to sue you over a minor issue if you do not refund them the full cost of their stay. If they were to post their complaint on review sites, they could cost you far more in future bookings than it will cost you to give them their money back in exchange for their silence. It could even end up costing you more than any legal action that occurs.
Facing litigation can be unnerving, and some people threaten it to get their unreasonable and unjustified demands. Knowing when to strike a deal and when to fight will be crucial to protecting your business. Seek legal help to understand more about the situation and your options.