As a general rule, a consumer can post a truthful review giving an opinion about a product or service without fear of being sued. But a surprising number of companies and service providers are getting customers to “agree” in fine print that they will not post negative reviews, whether truthful or not. Like consumer arbitration and class action waivers, this abysmal practice is designed to help companies hide rip-offs, subpar products and other wrongdoing from the consuming public. Thanks to several high profile cases (Consumer Fights Back Against Bogus Debt For Bad Review) this practice has caught the attention of regulators (FTC Sues Weight Loss Company), and now Congress.
In December 2015 the U.S. Senate passed the Consumer Review Freedom Act of 2015 (Read the Bill). This new law would ensure that all American consumers have the right to post truthful reviews giving their opinions by invalidating pre-printed contract terms that prohibit posting of reviews. However, unless this law is finally adopted and signed into law, there will continue to be many companies obtaining such “agreements” from their customers and threatening them with legal action if they post negative reviews. We believe that this practice may violate existing laws intended to protect consumers. If you or someone you know has been threatened for posting a negative review, we would welcome the opportunity to review the matter for possible legal action against the offending company.
Written content provided by: Christian A. Jenkins