Does insult infringe a company's right to honour: Supreme Court rules on the so-called "hard sell

Little can be said about the renowned the right to honour of legal persons. For many years, our Courts have agreed to limit freedom of expression to comments or opinions that are insulting, offensive and defamatory, i.e. those that are damaging to the company's reputation and good name. 

But, recently, the The Supreme Court has admitted certain insulting expressions as part of that freedom of expression.

This outcome follows a lawsuit brought by two companies against a web portal that contained insulting opinions about the aggressive sales practices of these companies. 

These companies were reportedly engaged in the door-to-door sale of book collections. These collections were not only highly priced, but the tactics used to sell them were considered to be "aggressive" and targeted at the elderly. But what is "hard sell"? 

"HARD SELL 

This type of sales has several characteristics, the most important of which are the physical, verbal or social aggression, hostility, instrumentalisation of the client, predatory behaviour, bullying and manipulation

As a result of the "hard sell" by these companies, many relatives of the consumers concerned expressed their displeasure and discomfort through the web portal, including expressions that went beyond simple constructive criticism and bordered on insults. 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION VERSUS THE RIGHT TO HONOUR

In this type of case, we are faced with a clear conflict between freedom of expression and the right to honour of the legal person, a right which, despite being clearly recognised, does not enjoy the same intensity as if it were a natural person.

Therefore, a balancing judgement must be made to see which right takes precedence over the other.  

Normally, the right to honour of the legal person would take precedence, especially in the case of insulting expressions, but the Supreme Court, to everyone's surprise, decided to rule in favour of the web portal that contained such comments. 

The Court acknowledged that These were very disparaging expressions, but he also pointed out that we are dealing with an issue, such as aggressive sales, which generates social alarm and public debate..  

The Court also reminds us that in relation to this type of practice there is a wide-ranging debate, questioning not only their morality but also their legality.Freedom of expression must take precedence in the case of such reprehensible and reprehensible conduct. 

Therefore, the The right to honour of legal persons is not unlimited and may even give way to other rights as a result of unacceptable behaviour on the part of the company towards its clients.

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