Why do we need a Consumer Review Fairness Act?

There have been a rash of incidents over the past couple of years in which companies attempt to stifle negative user reviews with “gag clauses” that threaten legal action and punitive monetary damages. The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, for example, threatened a wedding party with $500 fines for every bad review the wedding’s guests left on Yelp. (Wait….is that legal???) Not anymore.

Due to incidents like the one mentioned above and many others, New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance, Vice Chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, spearheaded this legislation to protect consumers rights to provide online reviews. Crowdsourced reviews of local businesses and services are a powerful informational tool and it is important to maintain the integrity of reviews to protect and inform consumers.

“This law is about protecting consumers posting honest feedback online.  Online reviews and ratings are critical in the 21st Century and consumers should be able to post, comment and tweet their honest and accurate feedback without fear of retribution.  Too many companies are burying non-disparagement clauses in fine print and going after consumers when they post negative feedback online.  This will now end.” – Leonard Lance

Ok…So What Is The Consumer Review Fairness Act?

The legislation, which passed both houses of congress at the start of December 2016, “makes certain clauses of a form contract void if it prohibits, or restricts, an individual from engaging in a review of a seller’s goods, services, or conduct.”

“One of our top priorities has always been to protect the ability for internet users — everyone from Yelpers to online shoppers — to share their experiences online, whether they be positive or negative,” Laurent Crenshaw, Yelp’s Director of Public Policy told Engadget. “The Consumer Review Fairness Act gives Americans nationwide new guaranteed legal protections when it comes to sharing these honest, first-hand experiences. We will continue to advocate at both the federal and state levels for legislation to protect consumers.”

How does the Consumer Review Fairness Act affect your business?

Unless you are one of those shifty businesses who like to sue customers for bad reviews, the Consumer Review Fairness Act won’t directly affect how you do business. What it does do is even the playing field, so all business will have to earn their five-star rating the right way – with great products and customer service.

Essentially businesses (who were being shifty) can no longer hide non-disparagement clauses in contracts and terms and conditions statements.  That means business will no longer be able to penalize customers for negative reviews.

Why Online Reviews are Important for your Business


of consumers trust opinions posted online


of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations


of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more

Generate 5 Star Reviews Fast

Gathering feedback and posting positive reviews online has many benefits for all businesses.  Actively generating online reviews establishes your credibility as a reliable business while giving your company a competitive edge over others in your industry and in your local area.  It helps you position your business as the first and best choice when customers are researching online before making a decision where to spend their money.

Cloud Cycle’s online review generation helps you save precious time, gather more five-star reviews, and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your review generation is easy and handled at every level. Your customers are being asked for their feedback, you are notified of dissatisfied customers before they get to review sites, and the best reviews are being promoted on the review sites and social networks that matter most to your business in an almost hands-free automated process.

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