Imagine purchasing a product online only to have it never delivered. When you try to contact customer service for help, no one picks up. You are now out your money with no product and no way to contact the company. What would you do? Would you write a negative review?
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.
After the couple was unsuccessful in removing the negative review, KlearGear reported them to consumer credit agencies ruining the couples’ credit score. The damage of their actions caused the Palmers to be denied a loan for a furnace and other set financial set backs.
Is this ethical? Can a company use a non-disparagement clause to prevent consumers from leaving negative reviews? The answer is no. Non-disparagement clauses are meant to deter libel, not to silence fair reviews. KlearGear.com is using the non-disparagement clause as an unconscionable adhesion contract. The contract is so grossly unfair that the company has complete advantage over the contract. A court will refuse to enforce contracts that are unconscionable.
The Palmers attorney may not even need to use this approach to win his clients’ case.