Blog

News, insights and more…

Consumer Review Fairness Act Signed Into Law

President Barack Obama recently signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law. The newly passed law, signed on December 14, 2016, has three main functions. First, it voids provisions in form contracts that limit a person’s right to publish genuine negative reviews online. Second, it voids clauses threatening penalties or fines against the...

How Not to Deal With Negative Online Reviews: Addressing Online Criticism in Light of Pending Federal Legislation on Non-Disparagement Clauses

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the House of Representatives passed H.R.5111, better known as the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016. The Consumer Review Fairness Act is a bipartisan bill aimed at protecting consumers who criticize businesses online. More specifically, the legislation is aimed at prohibiting businesses from inserting language in...

Best Practices, Worst Practices for Responding to Internet Defamation

There are a number of ways in which one can respond to internet defamation. There are also a number of ways not to respond. Below is an overview of some different response options that affected parties should and should not consider. How not to respond to online defamation We have...

Employers Must Be Careful Using Non-Disparagement Clauses to Discourage Employees’ Negative Online and Social Media Posts

In recent years, there has been backlash against non-disparagement clauses pertaining to online reviews. In particular, those attempting to restrict honest—albeit negative—feedback about companies.  In fact, California passed a law in August 2014 prohibiting anti-negative review policies. Meanwhile the Federal Trade Commission filed its first ever lawsuit over similar non-disparagement clauses...

Online Reviews: Ten Things You Should Know

Whether you like them or not, it is hard to ignore online reviews. For many businesses, online review pages and ratings are displayed prominently in Google and Bing searches. And many brick and mortar retail stores have “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers displayed on their doors or windows. Speaking...

Central Florida Apartment Complex’s Anti-Negative Review Policy Backfires

For anyone looking for a place to stay – whether a hotel or an apartment complex – there is no question that, second to price, peer reviews are very important.   Hotels and apartment complexes are well aware of this too and, naturally, their owners and members of management are concerned...

New California Law: Non-Disparagement Clauses Barring Online Reviews are Void, Unenforceable

In August 2014, we wrote about a New York hotel that was slammed online when people learned it was fining wedding parties $500 for negative reviews left by their guests.  On Tuesday, California passed legislation prohibiting businesses from doing something just like that: having customers sign non-disparagement clauses agreeing not...

Hotel Warns Against Negative Reviews, Receives Flood of 1-star Ratings

Being open to honest feedback and encouraging consumers to voice their opinions is not a terrible thing for businesses — even if that includes some negative or constructive criticism.  What a business should not do is enact a policy or take some other action to discourage people from posting negative reviews....