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Montreal Reputation Management Experts

Woman Hit With $3,500 Fine and Bad Credit Score… For Writing A Negative Review

In 2008 Jen Palmer orders a few items from Kleargear.com. The items aren’t delivered within 30 days so Paypal cancels the transaction. Palmer’s husband has tried to get in touch with the company during that time but all in vein, Jen decided to write a review on RipoffReport to rant about KlearGear’s poor customer service. “There is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being,” Jen Palmer wrote in here review. The story should have ended there, right? Well, it didn’t.

Full 3 years pass and Jen’s husband receives an e-mail from KlearGear demanding the removal of the negative review or face a fine of $3,500. The Palmers had supposedly violated a non-disparagement clause hidden in the terms of sale:

In an effort to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.

Should you violate this clause, as determined by KlearGear.com in its sole discretion, you will be provided a seventy-two (72) hour opportunity to retract the content in question. If the content remains, in whole or in part, you will immediately be billed $3,500.00 USD for legal fees and court costs until such complete costs are determined in litigation. Should these charges remain unpaid for 30 calendar days from the billing date, your unpaid invoice will be forwarded to our third party collection firm and will be reported to consumer credit reporting agencies until paid.

Fined for posting a negative review

Feeling scared and threatened the couple contacts RipOffReport where they are told the review can only be removed for a few of $2,000. Not having the funds the couple decides to simply “forget” the issue. However, KlearGear doesn’t give up and charges the Palmers $3,500. When the couple fails to pay, KlearGear reports them to nation’s top credit bureaus which destroys the couple’s credit score.

Jeff Hunt is a First Amendment attorney in Salt Lake City. We [KUTV.com] asked him to weigh in on Jen’s story.

“I think this is outrageous that a company like this would force a consumer to relinquish their first amendment rights to speak about their product as a condition of sale,” Hunt said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Hunt says he thinks there is a good chance a judge would say that non-disparagement clause is unconstitutional.

When this story went live on KUTV, it got picked up by many websites, news channels, reddit, facebook and users, etc. Thousands of people tried to get answers from KlearGear who has now deleted its Facebook page and made its Twitter profile private.

Regardless of the clauses in the contract of sale, the contract was broken by KlearGear at the moment when the transaction was cancelled, no sale = no contract.

Many internet users claim a fraud report against KlearGear should be filed to the Federal Trade Commission; many other accuse the company for violating the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

There is a chance we’ll be seeing another company go down because of shady business practices and poor customer service.

Make sure your company has proper reputation management, reputation marketing and staff training that will help you build satisfied clientele and a 5-star reputation online.

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