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The Consumer Review Fairness Act would make it easier to share negative reviews.

September 13, 2016

The Consumer Review Fairness Act, passed by the House of Representatives on Monday, could put an end to company policies prohibiting customers from posting negative reviews about their products and services.

The legislation comes in response to non-disparagement clauses some companies include in their terms of service which attempt to bar customers from writing negative reviews.

If it becomes law, the Consumer Review Fairness Act would make any such clauses void. It would also allow the Federal Trade Commission to take action against companies that have the clauses in their contracts.

Companies, however, would still have the ability to take legal action against anyone who posts false and defamatory reviews.

“This bill is about protecting consumers posting honest feedback online,” said Congressman Leonard Lance, one of the congressmen responsible for the bill. “Too many companies are burying non-disparagement clauses in fine print and going after consumers when they post negative feedback online…that needs to stop.”

Companies like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Glassdoor, and the National Retail Federation are supporting the legislation, with TripAdvisor publishing a release applauding the bill, as it would make it easier for consumers to post freely about their experiences—positive or negative.

The legislation was passed Monday in the House of Representatives, and must pass the Senate before it is reviewed by President Obama.

Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.

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