California Bill Looking To Ban Retailers From Blocking Free Speech



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.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora. When she isn't editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures. You can find Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.