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Dinorah Guerra
Dinorah Guerra
Realtor Associate
305-305-0300
dguerra@resf.com
Real Estate Sales Force
814 Ponce de Leon, #503
Coral Gables, FL 33134
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Bill Would Stop Companies From Going After Customers Who Post Bad Reviews

 

When you have a bad experience with a home improvement contractor, a lawn service or any other business you should be able to write an online review about the company without worrying that the company will retaliate

That’s the idea behind a bill recently introduced in Congress by U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Brad Sherman (D-CA). The Consumer Review Freedom Act would make it illegal for businesses to penalize customers who write negative reviews on Yelp or other online review sites.

In early September, California passed a law banning “non-disparagement” clauses in consumer contracts. The California law gives consumers the right to sue companies that try to enforce a non-disparagement clause. 

The federal bill would give the Federal Trade Commission and states the power to sue companies who violate consumers’ free speech.

The bill was a reaction to several companies’ attempts to dissuade people from writing honest reviews. In one of those cases, online retailer KlearGear included a clause in its terms of agreement that made consumers promise not to disparage the company, or risk paying a $3,500 fine.

After a customer wrote a negative review of the product, KlearGear sent her a $3,500 bill for violating the disparagement clause of the sale agreement. When the customer refused to pay the $3,500 bill, KlearGear reported the bill to a credit bureau as an unpaid debt. 

The customer sued KlearGuard and in May, a judge ruled against the company, saying it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, defamed the consumer and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

 
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