Businesses that sell goods and services may need to revisit their contracts following the passage of the Consumer Review Fairness Act. The Act, which was signed into law on December 14, 2016, aims to protect consumers and their rights to communicate about the goods and services they receive.
Beginning on March 14, 2017, provisions in form contracts that prohibit consumers from publishing reviews will be void. The Act also voids clauses that give businesses the property rights in consumer reviews.
Beginning on December 14, 2017, the Consumer Review Fairness Act will be enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission. Any contracts that include prohibited provisions will be punishable as an unfair or deceptive act or practice.
Many are hailing the Consumer Review Fairness Act as an important step in protecting consumers. However, the law is not as sweeping as some might suspect. The law does not apply to employer-employee contracts or contracts that have been meaningfully negotiated. Nothing in the law prevents a business from removing or refusing to display reviews that are libelous, slanderous, obviously false and misleading, or abusive. Furthermore, the law does not protect communications that disclose trade secrets and privileged information.
For additional information regarding this or any related area of law, please contact attorney Shannon Frank at sfrank@KDDK.com or (812) 423-3183, or contact any member of the KDDK business law practice team.
About the Author
Shannon S. Frank, a Partner at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP (KDDK), in Evansville, Indiana, has more than 25 years’ experience in the practice of business law, construction law, estate planning and probate administration, health care law, and real estate law. Shannon takes prides in giving exceptional service to her clients, recognizing that relationships with clients play a significant and essential role in providing tailored and comprehensive legal advice.