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The Inspection Racket
Nice restaurant you got here; be a shame if something were implied to have happened to it
Approach the owner of a restaurant announcing that
an agent with a private health inspection firm and
you have just completed an examination of the
Offer to transfer the exclusive rights in perpetuity
the use of the inspection report in exchange for a
fee" of, say, $5,000. The report consists of
truebut ultimately meaninglessscary sounding
- On average, fewer than five insects or insect parts
found in each meal served
- Up to ten percent of meat was found to be well past
expiration date, or otherwise unfit for human
- Employees who may have been sick were
regularly permitted to work
- Inspected food often contained large pieces of
unidentified organic matter
- In several instances, significant quantities of
deoxyribonucleic acid (a chemical often found in
waste and raw sewage) were detectable in food
- Several hundred strains of bacteria were
within the restaurant, including E. coli
- Based on this inspection, we feel compelled to
this restaurant with a "one star" health grade.
If the owner refuses to pay up, stand on the sidewalk
outside the restaurant handing out copies to
he does. Since you're not stating anything untrue,
on his property, he can't compel you legally to stop.
NOTE: This is strictly a Gedankenexperiment. I
advise people NOT to actually do this.
//he can't compel you legally to stop//
5th para., "Neither extortion nor blackmail require..." [mouseposture, Aug 07 2011]
||//he can't compel you legally to stop//
||But can you be arrested for your earlier attempt at
||This scam must surely have been tried many times
with restaurant reviews.
||That's a nice racket you got going here, be a shame if the maffia found out about it.
|| //he can't compel you legally to stop//
||Yes he can. The intent of the action and the approach
cause it to be actionable even if the content is not strictly
||"Hi, is that head of Greendale Kindergarten? I'm the
guy who used to own Giuseppe's. I was calling with
some good news about the father of little ytk junior
- I thought you'd like to know that the police have
not found any evidence on which to charge him with
child abuse, so you're probably safest assuming that
any minor grazes or bruises on ytk junior are just the
result of accidents."
||At least one d-bag has tried this where I work. We saw right through it, of course.
||Well, you're not threatening to do anything; you're
merely informing him that you've completed an
inspection, and also letting him know what the licensing
terms are for the report. But if that's even cutting it a
bit close, you could skip that step and wait until the
owner approaches you.
||I mean, yeah, it's still obviously extortion, but the idea
is to tread as closely to the legal line as possible without
crossing it. Maybe add some comment to the report
about the sad state of government health regulations
that would permit a restaurant like this to continue
operating, just so it becomes political speech and gets
an extra degree of protection.
||Yes and then in the real world they break your nose.
||[ytk] - the legal line that you have to avoid crossing is this: you can not accept, or offer to accept, money, goods, services, or consideration of any kind for your report.
||If the owner can get you to take *anything* in return for your report, you are thoroughly and absolutely sunk.
||In practice, this kind of thing is done by government agencies - and they don't like competition.