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Stadelman ‘right to Yelp’ measure becomes law

yelp 050217SPRINGFIELD – Legislation protecting the rights of consumers to leave honest online reviews of products and services without fear of retaliation was signed into law last Friday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The measure was sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford).

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.”  

With this law, Illinois joins two other states – California and Maryland – in banning non-disparagement clauses.

Senate Bill 1898 is effective Jan. 1, 2018.