Have you recently come across some negative online reviews of your company? It can be disconcerting to say the least. Online reviews have become one of the main tools that consumers use to determine whether or not they will do business with a company. According to a 2016 BrightLocal survey, more than 80 percent of consumers said they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation.
As Nashville construction attorneys, we highly recommend that you make reputation management a priority for your business. This two-part series will discuss your rights and responsibilities under the Consumer Review Fairness Act and how to handle online reviews.
The Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA)
The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 prohibits any business owner from restricting a consumer’s review of their business. Under the Act, consumers have a right to share their honest opinions about their experiences with any business regarding products, services, and conduct. Consumer opinions and assessments can be published on any forum, including social media platforms, online reviews, and through uploading photos and videos.
According to the CRFA, it is illegal to include provisions in your contracts that penalize (apply a fee against) a customer for giving an honest review of your company. A contract provision cannot bar or restrict a person from reviewing your product, services, or conduct, nor can you require a customer to give up their intellectual property rights in their reviews. Any business owner that violates the Act is guilty of violating the Federal Trade Commission and may be subject to penalties including a federal court order.
Protect Your Reputation
Your contracts can reduce your risk of liabilities or increase them. Before starting any project, be sure that your contracts are reviewed by a reputable Nashville construction attorney to ensure that you are complying with the CRFA. In short, your contract terms and conditions should not prohibit a customer from making a fair assessment of your business nor should it penalize them in any way for choosing to do so.
In part two, we will conclude our series by discussing what to do if you get a bad review and how to improve your reputation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.