California Bill Looking To Ban Retailers From Blocking Free Speech

May 22, 2014 5:00 am1 comment

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Proposed Legislation Will Keep Businesses From Asking Customers To Waive Their Right To Leave Negative Feedback Online

Say you buy a new watch and that watch turns out to be worse than hauling around a sun dial as a time piece. So, naturally, you leave a review online about said crappy watch.

Well, in California, if you do that, you could potentially be sued by the retailer for defaming their product and reputation if you were presented with and signed a waiver nixing your right to leave negative feedback online.

ArsTechnica reported on some insane instances of this very thing happening, but California is currently pushing a bill through the assembly that would potentially make it illegal for retailers to ask customers to not post negative reviews or comments online about their business.

Currently, retailers can ask customers to sign an agreement that allows the business to take legal action against that customer if he or she voices their displeasure about a product, service, or experience online.

Many Californians feel the current lack of protection enables a gag to their first amendment rights—freedom of speech.

The bill still needs to pass through the California senate and be signed by the governor, but the legislation is bringing new, bright light to what was once a fairly unknown issue.

RELATED: How To Handle Unhappy Customers On Social Media

Image: iStockphoto

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