For over a year now, Congress has batted around the idea of putting an end to “non-disparagement clauses” – wording in contracts that allows companies to take action against consumers if they write negative reviews about their products or services, even if those reviews are truthful. Well, fire up your angry typing fingers, because we’re one step closer to getting just such a law passed.
Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the Consumer Review Freedom Act – a bipartisan bill that hopes to put an end to these kinds of clauses. The committee’s approval means it now heads to the Senate floor for consideration – which I believe is government parlance for a long, apathetic shrug, hopefully eventually followed by a vote.
“Advancement of this legislation through the Commerce Committee puts us one step closer to making certain Americans are able to express their opinions online without the threat of lawsuits that stifle honest feedback and unfairly punish consumers,” said Kansas Senator Jerry Moran. Because if there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s opinions online.
Keep in mind, however, that though this new bill will prevent businesses from going after you if you write negative reviews, it doesn’t legalize things like slander and libel. Your reviews still have to be based in truth. Though to what extent the statement “My waiter couldn’t have provided worse service if his head was shoved up his own ass” can really fact checked still hasn’t been addressed.