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Can you Get Sued For Posting a Bad Truthful Review?

Pretty much anywhere you look these days is a website that allows you to review a product or service. In most cases, consumers write honest reviews. If you were happy with the product or service, you explain why. If you were dissatisfied, you explain why to warn others. However, what happens when you write a truthful review and it is a negative review for the company? Should the company be able to sue you? Wouldn’t this be considered free speech?

To get around the idea of free speech, a lot of companies put non-disparagement clauses in their terms of use. You know all of those terms you are asked to review and click a box that you accept before you can use the website? This clause is contained within those terms. This clause will typically say that you agree not to post a comment on a social media site about the product or service or even limit what you can and can’t post on a site. The problem is that you do not know you are agreeing to this because, quite honestly, who reads the terms.

Congress is trying to fix this by introducing a bill that would allow the Federal Trade Commission and States to take legal action against the companies that have these non-disparagement clauses in their contracts. California has taken the lead by enacting a law to ban these clauses. However, it will not take effect until next year. Hopefully, other states will follow suit.