In a new post on its website, the Federal Trade Commission is reminding people there is an act that allows them to share a truthful experience and opinion online, and that forms signed agreeing not to do so are invalid.
"Whether your summer plans include replacing your air conditioning, installing new flooring, or riding the range, you will probably read customer reviews to learn what people say about their experiences with a business or product. Shoppers benefit from knowing what others have to say, and the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) protects people’s ability to share their truthful experiences and opinions," the article says.
The FTC enforces the fairness act and it recently sued three businesses for violating the law. The FTC says those companies used form contracts that barred customers from sharing negative comments, and threatened to impose financial penalties against customers who did.
"Under proposed agreements with the FTC, the businesses — including an HVAC and electrical contractor, a flooring seller, and a company that takes people on horseback rides — will stop using, and will not enforce, those contract provisions. They will also inform people who signed the contracts that the provisions can't be enforced," the FTC says on its website.
"You can publish your honest review even if you say something negative about a business or the services it performed for you. If you have a signed form contract that restricts you from sharing reviews or penalizes you for doing that, the business may not be able to enforce those restrictions."