Bill Passed to Protect Online Reviews

Congress passed a bill on November 28 that would ban companies from taking action against individuals that post negative online reviews of their products or services. Some businesses have sued and threatened legal action towards consumers that have negatively reviewed products, claiming defamation or violation of a non-disparagement clause.

Arguing that this is a “gag-order” on reviews that provide more information to consumers, the Consumer Review Fairness Act levies a $40,000 and charges the company with unfair trade practice. Additionally, the bill voids any part of the contract that punishes or prohibits a consumer for negatively reviewing a product.

This bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent after clearing the House in September, now awaits a signature from President Obama. It is a powerful step in protecting consumers’ rights – the ability of buyers to review products honestly, especially to warn other potential customers of the flaws of a product, is essential for consumers to make the right choice.

Read the text of the bill here.

Read more about the background and Congressional testimony of the bill here.

Copyright for image: honzik7 / 123RF Stock Photo.

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Ashton DeLano is a junior at the George Washington University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics with minors in Business Administration and Computer Science. He intends to cover developments in the health and energy sectors and the impact of new technologies on the consumer.

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