This week, President Barack Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law. Engadget reports that the law “makes certain clauses of a form contract void if it prohibits, or restricts, an individual from engaging in a review of a seller’s goods, services, or conduct.” In other words, when you write a bad review on Yelp, you don’t have to worry about getting sued by the business.
This is big for customers. Over the past few years, businesses have been attempting to ensure good reviews, or at least a lack of bad reviews by requiring customers to sign “gag clauses.” One wedding venue in Upstate New York went to far as to threaten to make a wedding party pay $500 fines for every bad review left about the place.
As Grub Street points out, this is also big for both houses of congress, which passed the law with bipartisan support- a rare feat these days. In a statement praising the decision, Yelp said “In a climate of hyper-partisanship, getting a law passed that will empower and protect consumer speech online is something all Americans should be excited about.”
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