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Paul Zimmerman

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Yelp Away: California Passes Bill to Protect Consumers Who Make Negative Comments

On September 9, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2365, which has come to be known as the “Yelp Bill.” Under the law, California businesses cannot impose contracts wherein consumers waive their right to comment on the business or the goods or services received. In addition, the law imposes stiff monetary penalties on businesses that retaliate against consumers for making negative comments.

While California is the first state to pass such legislation, other states may soon follow. Indeed, one New York hotel recently came under fire for charging its guests $500 for negative Yelp reviews. Also, Representatives Eric Swalwell and Brad Sherman of California have indicated that they plan to introduce similar legislation at the federal level in the future. In light of the law and its likely expansion beyond California, companies would be well-advised to consider taking non-disparagement clauses out of their consumer contracts, and to give pause before seeking to do anything that could be construed as retaliation for a negative review.    

To view the Bill, click here.

This article is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.