Petsitter Now Suing Couple For Up To $1 Million For Negative Yelp Review

Petsitter Now Suing Couple For Up To $1 Million For Negative Yelp Review

A couple months back, we told you of the Texas couple that was being sued for a few thousand dollars by a petsitter over a negative Yelp review that allegedly violated a “non-disparagement” clause in the petsitter’s contract. That suit was quickly dropped, but a new complaint filed by the petsitting business has ramped up the allegations and the dollar amount, now seeking between $200,000 to $1 million in damages. [More]

Jennifer Moo

Congress May Finally Outlaw “Gag Clauses” That Block Customers From Writing Negative Reviews

Last December, it looked like federal lawmakers were getting serious about so-called “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses in consumer contracts that forbid customers from saying anything negative about a purchase or transaction. The U.S. Senate quickly passed a bipartisan bill that would outlaw the practice, but the legislation has idled in the House since. However, a new, virtually identical bill may finally be evidence of movement on this issue. [More]

Trinity Framing

Wayfair Now Offers To Send You An Electrician When You Buy Light Fixtures

Taking a page from Amazon, Yelp, Google, and Facebook, online retailer Wayfair is ready to play matchmaker with customers, connecting them with professional service providers when they buy a product on the site.  [More]

Michael Daddino

Facebook, Reddit, Wells Fargo, Bank Of America CEOs Among Those Urging North Carolina To Repeal New Anti-LGBT Law

Earlier this month, in a hurried legislative process, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2, a bill that overrides and prevents local governments from establishing anti-discrimination rules against gay and transgender people. This morning, advocacy groups delivered a letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory signed by top executives from more than 100 companies, all calling for the state to repeal the law. [More]

Travelin' Librarian

New Microsoft Office Starbucks Extension Lets You Schedule Coffee Meetings, Buy Gift Cards

The technological powers that be understand that people often don’t want to click around in more apps or programs than they have to. In a move meant for caffeine lovers on the job, one of Microsoft’s newest add-ins for its Office programs lets Starbucks customers do things like schedule meetings at the local coffee shop and buy gift cards for the store as well from within Outlook. [More]

Petsitter Sues Couple For $6,766 Over Negative Yelp Review

Petsitter Sues Couple For $6,766 Over Negative Yelp Review

So you hired a pet sitter to take care of your companions while you were out of town, but you weren’t happy with the service you received. You’re free to go online and publicly share your thoughts about that experience, as long as what you write is truthful. But you still might be sued by that pet sitter if your contract included a clause forbidding you from posting anything negative about the company. [More]

4 Things We’ve Learned About Getting The Best Valentine’s Day Flowers For Your Money

Happyshooter

Every year, after the major flower-giving holidays, readers send us photos of what they ordered and what they actually received. It’s a dismaying scene, and what we really want is to never publish another of these features again. That’s why we’re sharing what we’ve learned about the flower business from readers and from florists in the 10 years that Consumerist has been around.

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Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Since Amazon began allowing customers to post reviews on product pages, various waves of bogus reviewers have attempted to game the system by posting fictitious or dishonest write-ups. While Amazon has recently taken legal action against people paid to write fake reviews for products, and the site has a ban on most forms of “paid” reviews, there’s a new crop of compensated reviewers who are receiving free or discounted products in exchange for then writing “honest” reviews. But some of these users are writing dozens of reviews a day, sometimes for products they couldn’t possibly have tried. [More]

Netflix “Making A Murderer” Documentary Inspires Viewers To Seek Justice… Through Yelp

Netflix “Making A Murderer” Documentary Inspires Viewers To Seek Justice… Through Yelp

Netflix recently premiered a 10-part true-crime documentary Making A Murderer, about controversial murder investigation in Wisconsin. Some viewers of the show have been so moved by what they’ve watched that they’re forming virtual picket lines on Yelp and other review sites. [More]

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Facebook Taking On Yelp, Angie’s List To Provide Users With Highly-Rated Professional Services

Finding a reliable service provider can be a test of patience for some consumers, despite sites like Angie’s List and Yelp that aim to connect customers with local professionals focused on repairs, installations, or other jobs around the house. Facebook thinks it has what it takes to make the quest for a dependable handyman, lawn care service, plumber, and other local businesses with its new “Professional Services” feature.  [More]

Google Maps Will Give You 1TB Of Free Storage In Exchange For Restaurant Reviews

Google Maps Will Give You 1TB Of Free Storage In Exchange For Restaurant Reviews

What’s a technology company trying to break into the restaurant review game to do when not enough people are willing to submit restaurant reviews? If you’re Google, you give out a bunch of free storage.

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Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Nearly half the states in the U.S. have laws that ban or severely limit cities and counties from operating broadband networks or from selling that service directly to consumers. This week, a trade group representing the biggest names on the Internet — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, reddit, Yelp, among others — came out in support of breaking down these anti-consumer barriers. [More]

Jennifer Moo

Things Are Looking Up For Federal Law Banning “Gag Clauses” That Prevent Customers From Writing Honest Reviews

While most companies understand that honest negative feedback is, at worst, an inevitability of doing business, and maybe even a chance to improve, some companies try to use non-disparagement, or “gag,” clauses that use threats of legal action or financial penalties to prevent customers from writing or saying anything negative about that business — even if what’s being said is 100% true. We’ve seen these in everything from cheapo cellphone accessories, to wedding contractors, to hotels, to dentists, to weight-loss products, to apartment complexes. California recently enacted a law banning this sort of behavior, and some courts have deemed these clauses unenforceable, but there is still no nationwide consensus on their legality. Previous attempts to create a federal ban on gag clauses have been dead on arrival at Capitol Hill, but the latest effort appears to have some life to it. [More]

Privacy Advocates Concerned As Senate Approves Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

Privacy Advocates Concerned As Senate Approves Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

Despite previous failures, Congress just keeps on churning through bills that propose to enhance digital security at the cost of digital privacy. The latest in the series sailed through the Senate with wide approval this week, kicking off another wave of privacy concerns.

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(Paula S)

Restaurant Critic Rails Against “Stupid And Broken” Star-Rating System

We’ve said before that star ratings for restaurants are often arbitrary and may not be an accurate representation of the review’s content or of other diners’ standards. You might think that critics who get paid to give such ratings would defend the practice, but at least one of them has come out swinging against the stars, bells, and other dingbats he and his fellow reviewers are often compelled to use. [More]

(Hulya Ozkok)

Judge: Ranting Yelp Reviewer Must Pay Contractor $1,000

It’s one thing to go online and rant about a business that you’ve dealt with, exercising your right to free speech and warning other consumers away from dealing with that company. The problem, one woman in New York City learned, comes when you accuse the enterprise of actual crimes, using words like “scam” and “fraud,” and the company notices. [More]

Google provided this example of what its new services ad function will look like.

Google Adds Paid Home Service Provider Suggestions To Search Results For “Clogged Toilet,” “Plumber”

Less than a year after Amazon took on the likes of Angie’s List, Yelp and other companies that can connect consumers to professional service providers like plumbers, locksmiths, electricians and others, Google announced it would join the fray by adding prescreened service providers to its sponsored search results. [More]

(imgur)

Yellowstone Visitors Ask The Park To Please Train Bears To Hang Out Where Humans Can See Them

Who needs Yelp for government parks and services when you can just leave a comment card? While it’s quite normal to be disappointed at not seeing any animals on a visit to Yellowstone National Park, the thing is, there’s no guarantee of seeing wild animals, being that they’re, well, wild, and they do as they please. But that didn’t stop park guests from politely asking rangers to point some bears in the right direction.

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