US Congress Passes Law to Protect Users' Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are something that businesses definitely don't like to see, although some reviews that have constructive criticism do help businesses find out what they need to change to be a better company. But for the most part, these negative reviews don't show how great their business is, and instead it highlights the bad, it's not a great way to bring in new customers. Some businesses try to "punish" customers for leaving bad reviews. However, soon, that'll be illegal. Congress passed a bill which protects consumers rights to post these negative reviews, it's named the Consumer Review Fairness Act. Currently, it's awaiting President Obama's signature, and then it'll be signed into law. This law would also prevent companies from putting in non-disparagement or gag clauses into their terms of service. Something which KlearGear did, which brought up the Palmer vs. KlearGear case in 2013.

There was a law similar to this in the state of California, however it will now be in effect for the entire country, once President Obama signs it. This law doesn't just protect reviews that are posted online either. So that customers can really voice their opinion about companies and businesses without being punished for writing a bad review. Brian Schatz (D-HI), an internet subcommittee ranking member in the Senate, noted that "every customer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation."

Now, this doesn't mean that users should go out of their way to write bad reviews about businesses on Yelp, Google Maps and other services. But this law allows users to write these negative reviews without being punished by the company. In the case of Palmer vs KlearGear, the company had a non-disparagement clause in their terms of service, which states to remove negative reviews or pay a hefty $3,500 fine. Palmer did not take the review down, and the company opted to report the unpaid $3,500 fine to a credit reporting agency. Which obviously messed up Palmer's credit. The Commerce Committee went on and held a hearing about gag clauses in November of 2015. This hearing included testimony from Jen Palmer, who was the plaintiff in the Palmer vs KlearGear case. From that hearing, the Consumer Review Fairness Act was born.

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Alexander Maxham

Section Editor
Alex has written for Androidheadlines since 2012 as Editor of the site and traveled the World to many of the biggest Smartphone and Technology events. Alex has a background in Technology and IT and Deep Passion for Everything Android and Google. His specialties lay in Smartphones of all budgets, Accessories, Home Automation and more. Contact him at [email protected]