Saturday, February 06, 2016

Maryland considers bill banning consumer gag clauses; so should US House


A bill in Maryland would prohibit companies from placing “gag clauses” in consumer contracts, forbidding them to make online reviews.  That bill is HB 131 and follows a similar law in California. Electronic Frontier reports in a story by Elliot Harmon

The Senate has passed a Consumer Review Freedom Act (S. 2044)  which is stalled as HR 2110 in the House.

Courts generally have been siding with consumers in these cases, which generally come from Yelp! and sometimes Angie’s List.  Actual suits from Facebook posts, tweets, or personal blog posts seem less likely in practice, but probably are covered by these clauses.

I would be particularly concerned about the practice, say, if it occurred in housing or apartment or house rentals.

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