John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


Gagging the Gag Order | The Future of CX has Never Looked So Good | Worth doing Wrong
November 9, 2016, 7:19 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Companies Can No Longer Punish Customers for Writing Negative Reviews
A couple in Plano, TX hired a local pet sitting company to look after their dogs and fish while they were on vacation. The customers weren’t terribly thrilled about the quality of service they received and shared their feedback publicly on Yelp in Oct. 2015.

The pet sitting company not only responded to that write-up, they followed it with a cease-and-desist notice directing the customer to remove their review. When they did not take their Yelp post down, the pet sitting company filed a $1 million lawsuit against the customer, accusing the couple of violating a non-disparagement clause in the pet sitter’s customer agreement. To no surprise, the pet sitting company lost in court. Does this sound unbelievable? Unfortunately, this has become a recurring practice of companies, hidden clauses that prevent frustrated customers from sharing their unhappy experiences online. One classic online retailer, KlearGear fined customer $3,500 for a negative online review. While a hotel in Hudson, New York charges guests $500 for writing negative reviews online.

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