North Myrtle Beach restaurant sues customer over bad review after a coupon dispute

Buoys on the Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach.
Buoys on the Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach. jbell@thesunnews.com

A woman who posted a poor review of a North Myrtle Beach restaurant on Facebook is now in legal hot water as the establishment has accused her of libel.

The restaurant, Buoys on the Boulevard, claims the bad review contained false allegations and stemmed from their refusal to honor a coupon.

On Oct. 30, Doreen Gale-Alfano visited the North Myrtle Beach restaurant with a friend. She tried to use a coupon that would have covered dinner for two people up to $30, according to the lawsuit.

Buoys says the staff told her they were under new ownership and could not honor the coupon. In March, the restaurant changed ownership and had a slight name change from Buoys Beach Bar & Grille to Buoys on the Boulevard.

The waitstaff attempted to comp the couple’s drinks because they would not honor the coupon, the filing states.

Gale-Alfano threatened to “destroy you on social media” and hurt Buoy’s reputation, the lawsuit states. Gale-Alfano left and checked in on Facebook to another area restaurant seven minutes later.

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From Facebook

She then posted a review on Facebook, one that was still publicly available as of Tuesday afternoon. It reads:

Awful food....found a worm in my sushi.

Also had a fast crawling bug on the wall.

The Junga game is a germ carrier.

Go and enjoy if you don’t care cuz the new owner doesn’t at all.

The restaurant, through its official page, responded to the comment and wrote:

Hi Doreen, your visit last night is on our camera and you never ordered any food. NO SUSHI was made for you. You and your father came in last night with a $30.00 off coupon dated October 2017 from Grand Strand Dining Group. We bought the business in March 2018 and are not affiliated with Grand Strand Dining Group. We tried to explain that and you were livid because we would not accept the coupon.

We did comp out a Grey Goose Martini, a beer and a coke. We also let you know to go to Duffy Street to redeem the coupon. I did see where you went there after you left here. I can post the video of your entire visit on our camera playback and see where only drinks were at your table. I find it really sad that you would stoop so low to post lies about a business because of your anger. You did let the staff know that you would get on social media and ruin our business. Those are your own words.

A follow-up post by the restaurant’s owner then threatens legal action.

The lawsuit says Buoys’ reputation was hurt by the so-called libel post. Buoys also alleges Gale-Alfano slandered the business by making false statements. The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount of damages.

Attempts to reach Gale-Alfano were unsuccessful in time for this report.

Ah, the ignominy of being compared to McDonalds, being told that Lenior isn’t Tuscany and hearing that your $30 Restaurant Week offering wasn’t worth it. Note: Contains graphic language.

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.