Consumers often rely on online reviews posted on sites like Amazon, Yelp and Trip Advisor. Some sellers have tried to prevent such feedback by adding a clause in their online terms of use requiring consumers to agree not to post negative reviews of the seller’s products or services.

Earlier this year, California became the first state (and only one so far) to pass a law banning such clauses. Last month, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation introduced the “Consumer Review Freedom Act of 2015” to prohibit contractual clauses “that restrict the ability of a consumer to communicate regarding the goods or services offered in interstate commerce that were the subject of the contract”.

If the Senate bill ultimately becomes law, contracts containing a non-disparagement clause would be outright void. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would be charged with enforcement of the proposed law.

Review the text of the Senate bill here. Contact us at Ossian Law P.C. regarding any information technology law matter.

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