Congress Passes ‘Consumer Review Fairness Act’ Barring Retaliation for Negative Reviews

By Paul Riegler on 29 November 2016
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The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The United States Senate approved the Consumer Review Fairness Act on Monday.

Already passed by the House of Representatives, the law preserves the rights of consumers to post negative reviews about products and services without fear of retaliation by the company that is the subject of the review. The bill is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama shortly.

This includes restaurant and hotel reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.

“Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money,” said Senator Brian Schatz, a co-sponsor of the measure. “Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right.”

The new law essentially voids any provisions in contracts or agreements that prohibit a customer from posting a review about the product or service as well as provisions that would impose a penalty or fee on customers who post negative reviews. It also protects the reviewer’s intellectual property reviews with respect to the content of the review.

Congress has charged the Federal Trade Commission with enforcement and the agency can impose fines and penalties if required.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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