Online Reviews – Beware of NonDisparagement Clauses

One more thing to watch out for and be aware of when shopping online – Non-disparagement clauses in user agreements and terms of use.  These clauses may include fines for bad reviews you post online.

An example is a couple who, three years after posting a negative online review, received a letter from a company stating they owed $3,500 to the company per the terms of use.  Here’s a link to the story about their experience: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/02/tech/couple-fined-for-negative-review/

Apparently, you can contract away your right to free speech.  Be sure to read the terms and if they contain a non-disparagement clause or something you are uncomfortable with, don’t agree to the terms and/or contact the vendor.

If you do post a negative online review, ensure its contents are accurate otherwise you could be committing libel for which you could be fined even without a non-disparagement clause.

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