The FTC released final consent orders affecting five companies that allegedly violated the Consumer Review Fairness Act by preventing consumers from writing or posting negative reviews online, and/or threatening legal action and financial penalties for doing so. The companies include an HVAC service, a flooring company, a recreational horseback riding operation and two property rental firms.
Pursuant to the orders, and in addition to compliance and reporting requirements, the companies are now barred from using non-disparagement provisions in form contracts for goods and services, and must notify consumers that such provisions are non-enforceable. Additionally, one of rental companies must dismiss with prejudice one count from a private lawsuit in which it alleged a renter violated a contractual non-disparagement provision.
The FTC’s final orders may be viewed here: