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Report: #1266317

Complaint Review: FREEDOM OF SPEECH BEING STIFLED BY COMPANIES USING GAG CLAUSES - Nationwide

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  • Reported By: Ripoff Report Consumer Advocate...Alice in Ripoff Land — Surprise Arizona USA
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  • FREEDOM OF SPEECH BEING STIFLED BY COMPANIES USING GAG CLAUSES Nationwide USA

FREEDOM OF SPEECH BEING STIFLED BY COMPANIES USING GAG CLAUSES KLEARGEAR IS ONE OF THE COMPANIES FINING CUSTOMERS FOR POST BAD REVIEWS Nationwide

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH BEING STIFLED BY COMPANIES USING GAG CLAUSES!  Websites like Ripoff Report give consumers the opportunity to file complaints against companies who cheat, mistreat, misrepresent, scam or defraud.

Companies are doing everything they can to manage their reputations, including stifling you from airing your grievances, under penalty of being fined or sued. In other words, what you post online about them, can get you in trouble, and cost you a ton of money!

Companies are including “Gag Clauses” or “Non-Disparagement Clauses” in their contracts and agreements. These clauses are designed to deny consumers the right to post reviews online on websites such as Ripoff Report. Companies are using these clauses like bullies on a playground. They are virtually stopping you from airing your grievances!

Here is an example of a Gag Clause: “Customer agrees that no negative comment will ever be initiated…on any site on the internet…that damages the reputation of our company…”

A Ripoff Report consumer, Jen Palmer, posted a bad review on Ripoff Report about a company KlearGear. Her husband had purchased a gift on their online store for $20. The order was never delivered. After unsuccessful attempts to resolve the issue with KlearGear, she posted a negative review about them on Ripoff Report. Three years later, the Palmers received a bill for $3500, claiming Jen’s negative review violated the non-disparagement clause in its terms of sale agreement, (unless the review was taken down). The gag clause prohibited KlearGear customers from “taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.”

However, Ripoff Report’s policy is that once a report is posted, it cannot be removed. KlearGear reported the fine on their credit report as an unpaid debt. “Because of credit problems, we were denied a credit card, delayed on a car loan and deterred from trying to buy a new home”, said Jen Palmer. It took the Palmers 18 months to finally remove the debt from their credit report.

These clauses are unfairly exposing consumers to legal liability and stripping consumers of their fundamental right to free speech! They are quietly being slipped into the fine print of agreements and contracts at an alarming number of companies and retailers. Gag Clauses stop you from posting a bad review, even if it’s true!  "Gag Clauses are being forced on consumers and then being used to intimidate them," says South Dakota Senator John Thune.

“When I see non-disparagement clauses, I unfortunately see the logical conclusion of a decades-long corporate effort to strip consumers of yet another fundamental right,” said Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “Buried in fine print, consumers today are typically required to waive all sorts of rights, including the right to seek relief in our public justice system, and now with these gag clauses, the right to even speak.”

http://www.click2houston.com/news/posting-negative-reviews-can-get-you-in-trouble-and-cost-you-thousands/36279722 

With a bipartisan effort, Congress hopes to do something about that. Congress is now moving to protect consumers from these clauses. They are proposing a new bill that would ban companies from using these clauses to stop consumers from writing bad reviews about them online. “A core tenet of the internet is the ability to freely share information with whomever you like. What good is information if it’s been sanitized to remove truthful criticism”, says Senator Thune. 

If this new law, entitled “Consumer Review Freedom Act”, is passed, it would give the States and the FTC-Federal Trade Commission, power to get rid of these clauses, once and for all. The bill would also give the States and the FTC the ability to help consumers who have unfairly suffered the consequences of these Gag Clauses. No word yet, on when that would become law. So, be sure to read the fine print when dealing with any company.

Freedom of speech should allow any consumer the right to vent online about a company who mistreats their customers. That’s what Ripoff Report is all about. Don’t let them get away with it!  

Read about ED Magedson, Founder of this website. See what he goes thru to protect consumers 1st amendment right to free speech. http://www.edmagedson.com/did-you-know/ 

By Ripoff Consumer Advocate…Alice in Ripoff Land  

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/06/2015 08:24 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/freedom-of-speech-being-stifled-by-companies-using-gag-clauses/nationwide/freedom-of-speech-being-stifled-by-companies-using-gag-clauses-kleargear-is-one-of-the-co-1266317. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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