Greetings from Car Talk Plaza.
First, we do have a humungous punchlist of issues we're slowly working our way through, re: the Car Talk community. Please realize that there are just a few of us here, working on the site and various other projects. There's not a huge staff of lackeys, despite whatever the perception may be. So, we just ask for you to bear with us.
Re: Mechanics Files, when we started it about 10 years ago, Tom and Ray really wanted it to be something positive-- a place to find a great mechanic, not a place to bash lousy mechanics. The thinking was, and remains, that there's no shortage of folks out there willing to say, "my mechanic screwed me over!"-- but, what's really needed, is a good resource to find a great mechanic to get your car repaired.
The legal issues were, really, secondary. But they're a consideration, too. We didn't want to be partners in a game of "he said, she said," and be in a position of researching negative claims about garages. We don't have the resources to do that, alas. So, we opted to be totally upfront about the goals of the Mechanics Files, hence that quote at the top from the site, on the first post.
Hope that's helpful.
Senior Web Lackey