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May 19th, 2014, 05:24 PM #1Proposed CA Law Would Protect Online Complaints
There is a bill working its way through the California legislature with virtually no opposition that would protect a consumer's right to complain about online purchases.
Assembly Bill 2365 would make it illegal for online merchants to require their customers to agree not to post bad product or customer service reviews or comments online.
Apparently, some merchants have begun adding small print and last-minute pop-ups that tell their customers that by proceeding with their purchase they are giving up their free speech rights to complain publicly if something goes wrong.
The need for the legislation was prompted by a case from Utah where an online merchant, Klear Gear, actually tried to extort a $3,500,00 penalty from a couple of people who had posted a negative review on the site Ripoff Review. It seems the couple had made a purchase, which never arrived. They cancelled the order and then wrote their review. Then Klear Gear contacted them in writing, telling them that they had violated the company’s “non-disparagement clause” and demanded that they remove the bad review.
Apparently Klear Gear's terms include the following clause:
"To prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts Kleargear dot com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.”
The California bill would prohibit such TOS and such outrageous conduct.
Is this bill a necessary protection of free speech, or is it an unwarranted prohibition on merchants who should have the right to impose whatever terms on their customers that they deem appropriate and necessary to protect their brand?
Last edited by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound; May 19th, 2014 at 05:32 PM.
May 19th, 2014, 05:46 PM #2
May 19th, 2014, 05:58 PM #3
There was just an update last week. The couple sued Klear Gear who failed to timely respond to the lawsuit, and a court has just ruled that a judgment has correctly been entered in their favor against Klear Gear, holding that they do NOT own Klear Gear any penalty, and that Klear Gear violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and is liable to THEM for damages for defamation, intentional interference with prospective contractural relations, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The court set a hearing date for June 4 for them to prove how much money Klear Gear will own them in monetary damages.
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