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Stadelman moves to protect online customers

1 starLegislation would prevent retaliation for negative reviews of products, services

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) introduced legislation in committee this week that would protect 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 the Senate judiciary committee on Tuesday and will move to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Steve Stadelman

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34th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Education; Transportation (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Higher Education; Appropriations I; Commerce and Economic Development.

Biography: Earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Worked as a news anchor/reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, In 2003, his coverage of the state's death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary.