Utah Couple Sue Over Firm’s Negative-Review Charge

December 24, 2013

A Utah couple have sued an online retailer over a $3,500 charge the company assessed after one of them wrote a negative review concerning its customer service.

John and Jennifer Palmer of Layton filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City against KlearGear.com based in Grandville, Mich.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

According to the complaint, the couple’s problems began when John Palmer’s order of less than $20 for a desk toy and a key chain for his wife in December 2008 never arrived.

The couple said the order was canceled after they were unsuccessful in attempts to reach KlearGear, and Jennifer Palmer then posted a critical review about the company’s customer service on RipoffReport.com.

Ripp-off-logo-1

KlearGear informed the Palmers in 2012 they had 72 hours to remove the negative review or pay $3,500 because the couple violated a “non-disparagement clause” in its terms of use with customers, the suit states.

Ripoff.com has a policy of not removing posted reviews, the suit adds, and KlearGear later hurt the couple’s credit rating by reporting their failure to pay the $3,500 to credit bureaus.

The couple said their poor credit rating delayed a car loan and prevented them from securing a loan for a broken furnace. They also have been deterred from refinancing their home or selling their house and buying a new one, the suit says.

Their attorney, Scott Michelman, said the case is about protecting consumers’ rights to free speech.

“This case is really important because businesses should not be able to silence their customers,” Michelman, who is with the nonprofit Public Citizen Litigation Group based in Washington, told the Standard-Examiner of Ogden.

“We want to make sure that this never happens to anybody else again,” Jennifer Palmer told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Founded in 2001 as a computer products cataloger and e-commerce retailer, KlearGear.com has expanded its product line to include computer-themed giftware, apparel, gadgets, and one-of-a-kind private label merchandise, according to its website.

Subscribe Insurance news headlines delivered to your email.
Get a free subscription to our popular email newsletter.

Latest Comments

  • December 31, 2013 at 3:33 pm
    mrs dean wormer says:
    Kinda makes you wonder about their service, generally, if their policy is to force all customers into this non-disparagement agreement!?!
  • December 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm
    DataArchitect says:
    A contract must be quid-pro-quo, meaning one pays, the other gets something. Since the second party did not receive the merchandise, the contract is clearly voided by the firs... read more
  • December 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm
    Maureen says:
    I would wager that Kleargear has received (and will continue to receive) far more negative attention for their retaliatory actions against the Utah couple than from the origin... read more
See all comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

More News
More News Features