online reviews

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Study Finds Paying For Online Reviews Leads To Fewer Reviews

Rewarding people with cash has generally been a good way to motivate them to do things they are otherwise not obligated to do, but a new study claims that when you offer folks money for writing online reviews, it can backfire and result in fewer overall reviews. [More]

jdong

Jewelry Store Worker Ordered To Pay $34.5K For Posting Fake Yelp Review Of Rival

While it might be tempting to trash a competing business online, faking a Yelp review can be costly, as one Massachusetts jewelry store employee recently found out. [More]

Company Demands Thousands Of Dollars Over Negative Yelp Reviews, Despite Federal Law

Company Demands Thousands Of Dollars Over Negative Yelp Reviews, Despite Federal Law

In December, after an inexplicably long trip through the legislative process, President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, making it illegal for companies to demand that consumers sign away their right to speak honestly. However, not everyone seems to have gotten this message. [More]

Great Beyond

Speak Freely America: New Federal Law Outlaws Gag Clauses That Punish You For Negative Reviews

A new federal law will be born today. If it is signed by President Obama, one of his final acts in office will be to enshrine into law one of the core principles on which Consumerist — now in its eleventh year — was founded: That honest consumers have the right to complain. [More]

Jennifer Moo

Bill Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Punish Customers For Writing Negative Reviews Goes To President

After more than a year of waiting, Congress has finally okayed a piece of legislation that, if signed by the president, will stop companies from using so-called “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses to prevent or discourage customers from writing honest reviews. [More]

Amazon Bans Most Users From Writing Reviews In Exchange For Free, Discounted Items

Amazon Bans Most Users From Writing Reviews In Exchange For Free, Discounted Items

While Amazon has long looked down on reviews that were written in exchange for free or deeply discounted items, these write-ups were allowed so long as they followed the rules: The review must be honest, and the compensation must be fully disclosed. But as we showed earlier this year, a number of compensated reviewers were gaming the system — posting hundreds of reviews a month, almost universally positive, and for products they sometimes couldn’t possibly have used. Now Amazon has announced a nearly full ban on compensated reviews. [More]

No, Yelp’s Star Ratings Don’t Make It Liable For Bad Reviews

No, Yelp’s Star Ratings Don’t Make It Liable For Bad Reviews

Federal law generally protects websites from liability for content posted by third parties, otherwise online review platforms like Yelp would need to vet every single review before it gets published. But a small-business owner in Washington believes Yelp is liable because of its star ratings and because Yelp reviews can end up on Google search results. [More]

Jennifer Moo

House Passes Bill Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Try To Punish Customers For Writing Negative Reviews

We’re nearing the finish line for a piece of legislation that will make it illegal for companies to put so-called “gag orders” in their customer contracts to prevent consumers from sharing their honest opinions with the rest of the world. [More]

colonelchi

Petsitter Loses $1 Million Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review

The six-month saga of the Texas petsitter who sued a customer for up to $1 million in damages over a negative Yelp review appears to have come to an end, with a judge agreeing to dismiss the case that made national headlines. [More]

Congress Inches Closer To Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Block Customers From Writing Negative Reviews

Congress Inches Closer To Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Block Customers From Writing Negative Reviews

The House of Representatives will soon get to vote on a bill that would make it illegal for a company to use so-called “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses in their contracts and user agreements to prevent customers from writing or saying anything negative about that company. [More]

Couple That Was Sued For $1M Over Yelp Review Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit

Couple That Was Sued For $1M Over Yelp Review Asks Court To Dismiss Lawsuit

For months, we’ve been following the saga of the Texas couple who were first sued by their petsitter for $6,766 over a negative Yelp review, only to have that case dropped and re-filed as a full-on defamation lawsuit seeking up to $1 million in damages. Now, the couple is asking the court to just throw the entire case out because it should be prohibited by Texas state law. [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]

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]

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]

Senate Passes Bill Barring Companies From Using “Gag Clauses” To Block Negative Reviews

Senate Passes Bill Barring Companies From Using “Gag Clauses” To Block Negative Reviews

A nationwide ban on the use of tricky “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses — which prevent consumers from providing their honest opinions in public forums — cleared the Senate today, bringing it one major step closer to becoming law. [More]

Senate Committee OKs Bill Barring Companies From Using “Gag Clauses” To Block Negative Reviews

Senate Committee OKs Bill Barring Companies From Using “Gag Clauses” To Block Negative Reviews

A bill that would enact a nationwide ban on the use of tricky “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses to prevent consumers from providing their honest opinions in public forums is one step closer to becoming a law today, after the Senate Commerce Committee voted to approve the Consumer Review Freedom Act. [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]

This prairie dog is not impressed by your hollow threats of legal action. (Angela N.)

Fertility Service Threatens Customer With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit For Complaining To Better Business Bureau

A New Jersey woman who thought she’d been cheated out of several thousand dollars by a service that connects prospective parents with willing egg donors did something that a lot of ticked-off consumers do: She filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau — not knowing that the company would then threaten her with a massive legal action for daring to speak her mind. [More]