Woman Charged $3,500 For Negative On-line Review

Posted: November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

You Got To Be Shitting Me Entry #89

November 22, 2013

By Brian Anderson – Downtrend.com

If you don’t read the terms of service on the websites you visit, you’re not alone, but a recent incident might change your mind. A Utah woman got hit with a bill for $3,500 for failing to do so. KlearGear.com, an on-line retailer that sells nerdy gadgets, has a pretty rotten “non-disparagement” clause and is using it to collect money from Jen Palmer, who wrote a negative review of the site.

The story goes like this: Palmer’s husband ordered something for her on the website, but it never arrived. She was able to get a refund but her attempts to contact the company’s customer service were unsuccessful. Feeling her experience was bad, she wrote as much, leaving a negative review on Ripoffreport.com

She wrote in the review that: “There is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being.” And accused KlearGear.com of having “horrible customer service practices.”

Three years later, Palmer received an e-mail from KlearGear demanding $3,500 for violating the company’s non-disparagement clause, which reads:

In an effort to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.

Should you violate this clause, as determined by KlearGear.com in its sole discretion, you will be provided a seventy-two (72) hour opportunity to retract the content in question. If the content remains, in whole or in part, you will immediately be billed $3,500.00 USD for legal fees and court costs until such complete costs are determined in litigation. Should these charges remain unpaid for 30 calendar days from the billing date, your unpaid invoice will be forwarded to our third party collection firm and will be reported to consumer credit reporting agencies until paid.

The reason for this clause was an attempt to improve KlearGear’s “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Jen Palmer was terrified upon receiving the e-mail and tried to get Ripoffreport to take down her review, but the site refused. The Palmers did not pay the “fine” and, true to their word, KlearGear has passed it on to a collection agency. Now Jen and her husband have a black mark on their credit report and are having trouble getting a car loan.

You’re probably thinking: how is this even legal. It’s not, but that doesn’t matter. The damage to the Palmer’s credit has been done and it would cost them a hell of a lot of money to fight this thing. What this amounts to is extortion. KlearGear is not only stifling people’s freedom of speech, they are saying: pay us or we’ll ruin your credit rating.

KlearGear had to know this action was going to be viewed negatively and it appears the backlash is already affecting them. The interwebs are all abuzz about this and the company’s website is experiencing some “technical difficulties.” I think it’s just a sign of the times.

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