A Utah couple was fined $3500 by an online retailer all because of a negative online review they posted, after, they say, items they ordered from KlearGear.com never showed up.
“The Palmers apparently signed away that freedom when they agreed to KlearGear.com's non-disparagement clause forbidding them from taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, stating, ‘If the content remains, in whole or in part, you will immediately be billed $3,500.00 USD...,’” CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin reports.
It turns out they aren’t alone.
“In 2011 a Virginia woman posted a scathing review on Yelp and Angies List blasting contractors complaining of a sloppy paint job, poorly installed door hinges, and even accusing them of theft, writing ‘"Bottom line: do not put yourself through this nightmare of a contractor.’”
Chris Dietz, the founder of the company, turned the tables and filed a $750,000 defamation suit and a judge ordered that certain parts of the review be removed. The state supreme court later reversed the decision but wrote that the contractor could pursue monetary damages for defamation.
And a win for freedom of speech on the Internet was just as much a warning that you can be held legally responsible for posting negative feedback.
CNN tried multiple phone numbers listed posted on KlearGear's web site. All of them were disconnected. KlearGear.com did respond via email to our affiliate KUTV. KlearGear defended its actions saying its request for the Palmers to take down the comment was not blackmail but, "a diligent effort to help them avoid the fine."
The Palmers say they're taking their fight to court.
CNN tried multiple phone numbers listed on KlearGear's web site. All of them were disconnected. KlearGear.com did respond via email to our affiliate KUTV. KlearGear defended it's actions saying its request for the palmers to take down the comment was not blackmail but, quote "a diligent effort to help them avoid the fine."
The Palmer's say they're taking their fight to court.