Calif. shields citizen-reviewers from restaurant lawsuits

Channel3000 reports that a new law has been established in California that allows users to post honest reviews of restaurants on Yelp without fear of retaliation from the website. Governor Jerry Brown signed the law this week, which will prevent restaurants from pursuing legal action against customers who give them negative reviews online. The legislation appears to be the first to offer such protections to consumers.

The legislation specifically addresses “disparagement clauses,” which have been included in businesses’ terms of service. These provisions prohibit customers from posting negative comments about the business.

Now, any business that includes such a clause will be fined $2,500 the first time the business attempts to enforce it and $5,000 for each additional attempt. Further, an additional $10,000 will be added if it is determined that the action is “willful, intentional or reckless.”

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