No one reads agreements, contracts, or terms and conditions thoroughly, but consumers may unknowingly be signing away more freedoms than they think.
More companies, service providers, and businesses are hiding non-disparagement clauses among the ten-point font we rarely take the time to read. What’s a non-disparagement clause?
Basically, a non-disparagement clauses prevents consumers from writing negative reviews, or complaining about the business, brand, or service provider – regardless of whether or not the negative review or complaint is true.
Non-disparagement clauses, and similar language, force some consumers to give up their First Amendment rights, but some companies and service providers are still slipping them into contracts, which consumers willfully sign.
These same companies and service providers have been hitting consumers, who publish a truthful negative review or complaint, with lawsuits ranging from $3,500 to $350,000.
Enforcing the non-disparagement clause in a signed contract is a case-by-case decision, but will ultimately be up to the state in which the business operates.
Consumers should make certain they thoroughly read contracts before signing them and pay particular attention to the following terms:
- no-review policy
- agree not to disparage