Woman receives hefty fine for writing negative online review

Negative review about Kleargear.com earns Utah woman Jen Palmer a $3,500 fine.
Posted By Evan Bleier  |  Nov. 20, 2013 at 1:36 PM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A Utah woman who wrote a negative review about Kleargear.com after she never received items that her husband ordered from the site was hit with a $3,500 fine because she violated a non-disparagement clause that the company has hidden in its terms of sale.

Jen Palmer wrote the negative review on Ripoffreport.com, but she never thought she would be paying this price for it.

"There is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being," she wrote in the review, adding that Kleargear.com has "horrible customer service practices."

Now, thanks to the unpaid fine, Palmer is having problems with credit bureaus.

"This is fraud," she said. "They're blackmailing us for telling the truth. I have the right to tell somebody else these guys ripped me off.” She asked Ripoffreport.com to remove the post but they told her it would cost $2,000.

This is the Kleargear.com clause that got Palmer in trouble:

"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."

Jeff Hunt, a First Amendment attorney in Salt Lake City, offered his thoughts on the matter.

"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," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."


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