Federal Legislation to Ban Contracts with Nondisparagement Clauses

H.R. 5499 Federal Legislation to Ban Contracts with Non-Disparagement Clauses

On September 16, two members of Congress from the California delegation (Rep. Eric Swalwell and Rep. Brad Sherman) introduced “The Consumer Review Freedom Act,” H.R. 5499, to ban nondisparagement clauses in consumer contracts. 

Scott Michelman writes here at the Consumer Law and Policy Blog that unlike the California legislation that was recently signed into law, this legislation doesn’t have a private cause of action that would give the consumers the right to redress the “gag” on their speech, but it does allow states and the Federal Trade Commission to bring enforcement proceedings against these contract provisions that seek to prohibit the free speech rights of consumers. 

The Consumer Review Freedom Act is a great start toward addressing one of the many harmful provisions in the fine print.  You can read the text and track H.R. 5499 here.  Get your members of Congress to co-sponsor it and your Senators to submit a similar bill in the Senate, preferably with a private right of action.