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Senate bans “gag clauses” being used by brands to block negative reviews

Brands are putting gag clauses in fine print to disallow customers from ever leaving a negative review of them online (lest they be sued). Uncle Sam has stepped in, so stay tuned.

One of the great things about freedom of speech in America is that for the most part, we as citizens (or journalists) can comment on things like laws, products, or even Donald Trump without fear of being flogged or stoned in public or worse. I mean that’s the way it’s supposed to work. That’s what makes America great.

Every now and then it doesn’t happen that way. More and more frequent is the use of “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses in fine print by companies in an attempt to block negative publicity.

The most well known and famous example of this involves online retailer, KlearGear and a couple who went online with a critical review of services rendered.

Fighting back against this trick

In one of the quicker moves to resolve this type of big business abuse, the Senate has passed a bill to nix the use of these tricky “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses, which again would prevent consumers from providing their honest opinions in public forums, bringing it one major step closer to becoming law.

The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, and if passed by the full Congress, the Consumer Review Freedom Act would give the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the authority to take enforcement action against businesses that attempt to these ethically questionable clauses to quiet consumers.

Although previous attempts at legislation on a national level have fallen short, it looks like the Senate is doing the right thing in an effort to protect consumers.


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.


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