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When debating who to hire for a home improvement job or deciding whether to purchase a new TV from Brand X or Brand Y, many consumers turn to internet reviews to see what others thought of the service or product.

Did you know that honest reviews of a company are a protected consumer right under the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA), even if the review is negative? In fact, it is illegal for companies to use contracts that prohibit customers from sharing negative comments or contracts which impose penalties or fines if a customer does leave a negative review. Under the CRFA, if a contract contains those clauses, they cannot be legally enforced.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) even recently sued three businesses for violating the CRFA. These are the first FTC actions exclusively focused on enforcing the CRFA.

If a company does try to enforce you to restrict your honest opinion or penalize you, alert the business of your rights under the CRFA and report them to the FTC and your state consumer protection agency. File an FTC complaint here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

More information about the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) can be found here: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/statutes/consumer-review-fairness-act

 

The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry. Contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

 

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