A Glass Half Full? Enduring Small Business Frustrations under the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016
18 Pages Posted: 26 May 2017
Date Written: May 15, 2017
On December 14, 2016, President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 (CRFA or Act) into law. This first-of its kind federal law voids contract provisions that seek to prohibit, restrict or penalize online customer reviews. While the CRFA provides valuable and needed protections for online consumer expression, small businesses were still left without new options, outside of costly litigation, to protect themselves from fake negative reviews. This paper will provide an overview of the key provisions of the CRFA, including, what communications are covered, what protections are in place for review sites seeking to effectively police third party postings, and the permissible public and private causes of actions under the new law. This article will address how the Act does little to aid small businesses and recommends self-help remedies, outside of litigation, that should be available to provide assistance to small businesses victimized by social media trolls and bogus negative reviews.
Keywords: Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016, Online Reviews, Speech Suppression, Gag Clauses, Gag Contracts, Social Media, Yelp Law
JEL Classification: K10, K12, K42, D18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation