Canstar Blue’s Legal Threats Policy and Process Explained

Version: June 2022 

Canstar Blue operates a ratings and comparison business that is well-known and well-regarded by consumers in Australia and New Zealand. It is a sister business to Canstar, Australia’s biggest financial comparison site. We operate to a high standard of professionalism. You can read more about our Editorial, Research and Commercial activities on our FAQs page.

An important note on our ratings

Our survey results reflect the survey respondents’ subjective opinions of the product or service under consideration for a rating. Most brands don’t receive the top rating. Understandably, some brand owners are disappointed and some take the opportunity to understand where there may be potential for improvement. Canstar Blue always attempts to answer queries from brand owners whose brands are rated by us.

However, we do on occasion receive legal threats and demands related to our rating of a brand. These threats are typically written in hostile language that is intended to intimidate.

Our Legal Threats Policy

Canstar Blue has developed a policy to respond to such threats as follows:

(a) In the first instance, we prefer to meet with the brand owner’s management – without lawyers – to attempt to resolve the issues raised. In our experience, this has led to a better understanding by both parties of the issues. 

(b) If we agree that we have made a mistake or provided information that is incorrect, we will rectify this as soon as possible.

(c) We do not ‘release all information’ about how a rating was determined or how a survey was conducted. Detailed methodologies for our research and ratings are available on our About Canstar Blue and FAQs pages and all other relevant pages on our site. 

(d) If we receive unfounded threatening demands or complaints, we may take any or all of the following actions:

  1. Release to the national media a story covering the threatened or actual lawsuit, including the results of our research. We may also release this information on our site and to our subscriber base. We consider the fact that we are threatened with legal proceedings to be newsworthy and to be information that is relevant to consumers when making purchasing decisions.
  2. Publish on our website in part or all of the threatening correspondence we receive.
  3. Release additional research, such as customer comments collected during our research process, and/or conduct and release more research into a particular issue.
  4. ‘Yellow Card’ the brand or brand owner’s products or services on the relevant parts of our site. For example, the product or brand may still appear but reference will be made to the lawsuit. We may or may not remove the product’s rating.
  5. ‘Red Card’ the brand or brand owner’s products and services, by not rating such products and services in future surveys and displaying a statement explaining our action alongside the survey results. For example, where a brand or brand owner makes numerous unfounded or vexatious complaints, we may exclude them from future surveys.

In short, we are prepared and well-equipped to defend our business in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law.

Our commitment to consumers

Canstar Blue is a ratings business. If we were to cease publishing product and service ratings due to vexatious claims and lawsuits, we would no longer have a business. Furthermore, our business provides consumers with information that may be of interest and use to them. This includes the fact that a survey subject has made legal threats to Canstar Blue about survey results, or about website user feedback regarding their products or services. 

We will not be browbeaten by disgruntled survey subjects who resort to legal processes in the absence of a legitimate claim. In such cases, we have no choice but to take substantial and decisive steps to defend our business. Canstar Blue retains a Chief Legal Officer with extensive litigation experience and uses external firms when appropriate. Our Terms and Conditions set out the terms of use of the Canstar Blue website.

Feedback on our editorial content

Canstar Blue will always consider and respond to reasoned, polite communications from brands and brand owners regarding our editorial content. Please refer to our Editorial Code to read the editorial standards our Editorial Team and content contributors uphold. Brands that believe these standards have been breached can read how to lodge a complaint on our Complaints Policy page.

Feedback on user posts

Likewise, Canstar Blue will always consider and respond to reasoned, polite communications from brands and brand owners regarding commenting on Canstar Blue social media pages that is demonstrably offensive, illegal or defamatory. Our Terms and Conditions set out our User Posts policy. We will not, however, allow genuine, reasoned discussion to be censored by those with a pecuniary or other interest in the product or service under discussion.

Brands, brand owners and any other party that demand we shut down a discussion on Canstar Blue social media pages without proper and reasonable grounds to do so may be subject to Canstar Blue publicising the demand and the circumstances of it having been made, removing that brand and brand owner and all its products from consideration in the Canstar Blue research and ratings process and/or blocking any discussion within the forum of that manufacturer/supplier and or its products.

How to contact us

If a brand or brand owner has an issue they wish to discuss with Canstar Blue, they are encouraged to contact us in the first instance by email, or by sending us a letter. 

  • Email: with subject line: Complaint
  • Post: Canstar Blue Enquiries, Level 21, Suncorp Plaza, 143 Turbot St, Brisbane City QLD 4000