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Stadelman passes measure protecting ‘right to Yelp’

yelp 050217SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) secured passage of legislation that protects the rights of consumers to leave honest online reviews of products and services without fear of retaliation.

The measure prevents companies and service providers from enforcing non-disparagement clauses included in sales contracts. Such clauses typically include language that prohibits consumers from leaving negative feedback about the retailer. Oftentimes, particularly online, a consumer must accept the terms of a contract before completing a purchase.

 

“Although I understand that businesses don’t want to be unfairly criticized, it is important to protect the right of the consumer to voice their opinion,” Stadelman said. “In many cases, people might not even realize they signed a non-disparagement agreement until a company takes action against them.”  

Only two states – California and Maryland – have laws in place banning non-disparagement clauses. Illinois has general consumer protection laws in place that prohibit unfair business practices and fraud but do not specifically address non-disparagement clauses.

SB 1898 passed unanimously in the Senate and will move to the House for consideration.

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