Bill would create new protection for shoppers who write online reviews

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[Commentary] Some bills that ordinarily might generate some controversy fly through the Legislature with nary a vote against them. Consider AB 2365 by Assembly Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles).

Introduced in February, it has encountered almost no opposition. The bill seeks to provide some new legal protection for consumers who offer online opinions or comments. It would make it illegal for retailers to require customers to agree not to complain publicly, such as in online reviews, about their purchases.

If merchants think that our 1st Amendment free speech rights need to be curtailed, they should say so upfront and in plain language. Such legalese often is found in small type in pop-up windows that prompt online buyers to agree to the terms before completing a purchase. Merchants, before threatening to or taking legal action, would have to prove that a customer knowingly and voluntarily agreed to not post negative comments.


Bill would create new protection for shoppers who write online reviews