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FTC cracks down on non-disparagement clauses for consumers

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Posted at 6:00 AM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 11:21:19-04

PHOENIX, AZ — The Federal Trade Commission says it is cracking down on companies that include non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts.

The agency says three companies were ordered to stop including the clause and to inform prior customers of their right to make honest reviews of the businesses.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act ensures as long as reviews are truthful consumers have the right to give opinions about a business without penalty.

Specifically, the law voids any contract that prevents consumers from posting reviews or imposes fees for them.

An FTC complaint accuses a Las Vegas trail riding company of having consumers agree to pay "$5000 per negative review" and "not to call animal control or any governmental agency" to report how the horses are "taken care of" to do business with them.

A Pittsburgh HVAC company made customers agree "not to file any complaints with the Better Business Bureau" according to another complaint.

A third complaint says a flooring company in Massachusetts had customers agree not "to publicly disparage or defame" the company "in any way or through any medium."

Has a business tried to prevent you from posting a negative review? File a complaint with the FTC here.

And make sure to let me know.