Whether your summer plans include replacing your air conditioning, installing new flooring, or riding the range, you will probably read customer reviews to learn what people say about their experiences with a business or product. Shoppers benefit from knowing what others have to say, and the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) protects people’s ability to share their truthful experiences and opinions.
The FTC enforces the CRFA and recently sued three businesses (and two of their owners) for violating that law. According to the FTC, the companies used form contracts that barred customers from sharing negative comments and that imposed financial penalties against customers who did so. Under proposed agreements with the FTC, the businesses — including an HVAC and electrical contractor, a flooring seller, and a company that takes people on horseback rides — will stop using, and will not enforce, those contract provisions. They will also inform people who signed the contracts that the provisions can’t be enforced.
The CRFA protects your ability to share your honest opinions about a business’s products, services, or conduct in any forum, including social media. You can publish your honest review even if you say something negative about a business or the services it performed for you. If you have a signed form contract that restricts you from sharing reviews or penalizes you for doing that, the business may not be able to enforce those restrictions. If a business tries to enforce a restriction or penalty, let the business know about the CRFA, and please report it to the FTC or your state consumer protection agency.