Businesses to get clobbered trying to "gag" negative reviews

Discussion in 'Congress' started by JakeStarkey, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Businesses will no longer be able to contractually bind customers from posting negative reviews.

    This is a good law.

    Congress Passes Bill Protecting Consumer Reviews A bill protecting US customers' right to post negative online reviews is awaiting the President's signature.

    The Senate this week unanimously passed legislation that will outlaw the use of "gag clauses" by businesses trying to silence criticism of products and services.

    Following its introduction in the fall of 2015, the Consumer Review Fairness Act gained House approval in September and proceeded through the Senate on Monday.

    "By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online," John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said in a statement.

    The commission last year held a hearing on gag clauses, featuring testimony from a plaintiff in the 2013 case of Palmer v. KlearGear. The Internet retailer was sued by John and Jen Palmer after billing the customers $3,500 for a negative review. The charge, according to the Commerce Committee, was based on a non-disparagement clause in the site's terms and conditions.
     
  2. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 Diamond Member

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    Honestly never heard of that before and signing away one's First Amendment right as a customer would be considered unconscionable under the law therefore constitute an unenforceable contract.
    Maybe some businesses thought that with enforceable employee non disclosure agreements they could expand it to customers. That was stupid.
     
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  3. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Indeed, Ringel.

    Businesses do not want be held accountable for poor product.

    Tough.
     
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  4. martybegan
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    martybegan Platinum Member

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    Most of these never stood up in court anyway, but at least now people won't have to waste time and money on defending themselves through the legal system.
     
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  5. Dogmaphobe
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    Dogmaphobe Platinum Member

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    There are really two sides to the issue here as on one side, you have a consumer offering a negative revue because of truly poor performance or service. On the other hand, you have malicious people trying to damage reputation for ulterior reasons.

    Take a restaurant, for instance. A competing restaurant can offer a scathing revue. An ex employee with a grudge can do so. Any number of people can indulge in what is essentially libelous behavior and do so with impunity. A person can claim the food made them sick even if it didn't, and the restaurant owner has no recourse.

    Now, I realize there are a lot of people forever stuck in their "let's stick it to the man" state of adolescent development, but many small business owners are affected by negative reviews that are entirely scurrilous. It seems to me that the only thing that really matters here is truth, and getting to the bottom of it. Yes, businesses can be disreputable but so can individuals. Let's not get so caught up in our desire to nail the former that we fail to take into account the latter.
     
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  6. Silent Warrior
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    Silent Warrior Gold Member

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    Another non-issue triumphantly tacked by Congress while they avoid more serious problems with the country. Next they will try to decide on a national weed as a symbol of our diversity.
     
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  7. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    It's a good law, SW.

    Yes, Congress does not do 10% of what it should do.
     
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  8. martybegan
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    martybegan Platinum Member

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    it's up to the website in question to police it's reviews, and while in the beginning they sucked at it, they are trying to get better. Methods like burying one-off reviews or reviews by people who do nothing but "5-star/zero-star reviews. They also have been better at cleaning up "Fuck You" spam attacks of places that make the news for some social topic of the day.

    The issue boils down to the simple fact that a company cannot squelch someone's speech rights via a contract, and usually a contract no one reads.
     
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  9. Silent Warrior
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    Silent Warrior Gold Member

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    Not saying it's bad. Only that it shouldn't be needed and Congress shouldn't waste it's time on something that isn't in the purview of the federal government anyway.
     
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