HomeEconomic IssuesExposed: Greedy Online Retailer Shafts Couple on Their Order, ‘Fines’ Them for Negative Review (Video)

Exposed: Greedy Online Retailer Shafts Couple on Their Order, ‘Fines’ Them for Negative Review (Video)

If you still have any doubt as to whether the sentiment that the customer is always right is dead, wonder no more, because it is — even when the customer isn’t really a customer, because the seller never bothered to deliver the goods.

In 2008, John Palmer ordered some merchandise from online retailer KlearGear.com as Christmas gifts for his wife, Jen. When the merchandise hadn’t arrived 30 days later, PayPal cancelled the transaction and returned the funds to his account.

The Palmers posted a negative review of the company on the consumer complaint site Ripoff Review, relating their experience with the company, and telling how they never received their order, had been unable to contact anyone at the company by phone and hadn’t received a response to emails.

That was five years ago. Fast forward to the present, and suddenly John receives an email from KlearGear informing him that he has 72 hours to remove the negative comment or he will be “fined” $3,500.  They claimed that the contract “signed” at the time the order was placed contained a nondisparagement clause barring them from making any negative comments about their experience with the company.

Ripoff Review requested a $2,000 fee to take the review down. The Palmers refused, but also refused to pay KlearGear’s extortionate fines.

KlearGear reported the Palmers to all three credit reporting agencies as having failed to pay their bill. This has created problems for them in obtaining credit – they had to try several banks before being able to finance a new car.

Consumer advocates say that nondisparagement clauses are becoming more prevalent and are legal, though there is some question as to whether the clause was actually in the KlearGear contract when John placed his order; in any case, it was so restrictive that no court would ever uphold it. Of course, KlearGear had also breached the contract themselves by failing to deliver the goods as promised.

The Palmers are willing to go to court to escape the fine, but in the meantime, their credit remains damaged and KlearGear is still doing business.

Watch the report from CNN:

h/t:  Raw Story


About Bob Cull

I'm retired and live in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. I have strong opinions and my political bent has not changed since I was in high school. Most of my family thinks that I need to find a "real" hobby to fill my time in retirement, but I am content to share my opinions with others and exercise my "right" as a cranky old retired dude to express my views--which are based on many years of real world experience.


  1. Disgusted-Kevan Scott

    According to the CNN report I heard this is becoming a common practice of on line retailers to put in the fine print that you cannot write a negative on line review and if you do you give the company the right to fine you AND you give up your right to free speech. Another fine example of how corporate control of us is becoming the norm and how we, like the sheeple the American people are, are giving up our rights to the corporations. You do have the right to work for less., pay more, and say nothing if you are wronged by the corporation/companies you do business with. Sad, isn’t it? Yet, until we begin to protest in the streets in large numbers too large to ignore we are going to continue to see our rights disappear and the corporations continue to erode our rights of free speech, to cancel a sale for any reason, basically anything that benefits the consumer will be a thing of the past.

    • This case looks bad for Klear Gear, Kevan. They did not add that clause until just recently and have attempted to enforce it on someone who never signed a contract containing it and now they have filed a fraudulent report with the credit reporting agencies. I see a lot of problems in their future — going out of business and heavy debt to the government type problems.

  2. This goes in the “Hot Coffee” documentary file, where corporations and their lawyers are legally finding ways of barring us from our constitutional rights, either of free speech or access to recourse through the legal system. Where’s the “constitutionalist” Tea Bag outrage, here?

    • According to Libertarian theory, the Constitution basically ONLY applies when you are dealing with the government. And and ALL “private” transactions are essentially exempt from it’s provisions. Once you enter the realm of a business transaction, you leave your Constitutional rights at the door.

  3. That makes no sense…you cannot honestly report on a company when you have a bad experience?

    Lawsuit time. That clause is “contrary to public policy”.

  4. I’d say it’s time to put kleargear out of business. They lie, they cheat, they steal.

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