Get Gephardt | Stories - Fined For Posting a Negative Review Online
Thursday, November 21 2013, 08:39 PM MST
Fined For Posting a Negative Review Online
(KUTV) For Christmas several years ago, Jen Palmer's husband ordered her a number of trinkets from the website But for 30 days, never sent the products so the transaction was automatically cancelled by Paypal, Jen said.

Wanting an explanation, Jen says she tried to call the company but could never reach anyone. So frustrated, she turned to the internet writing a negative review on

"There is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being," it says. And it accuses of having "horrible customer service practices."

That was the end of it, Jen thought, until three years later when Jen's husband got an email from demanding the post be removed or they would be fined. says Jen violated a non-disparagement clause. It turns out that, hidden within the terms of sale on there is a clause that reads:

"In an effort to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts, its reputation, products, services, management or employees."

The clause goes on to say if a consumer violates the contract they will have 72 hours to remove your post or face a $3500 fine. If that fine is not paid, the delinquency will be reported to the nation's credit bureaus.

"This is fraud," Jen said. "They're blackmailing us for telling the truth."

But Jen says she was not always so defiant. After receiving the threat she says she was terrified. She contacted to ask that the post be removed but will not let her.

Jen and her husband also disputed the ding with the credit bureaus but because says the charge is valid the the ding remains.

Now as a result, Jen and her husband are amassing rejection letters from lenders as they apply for loan to buy a new car and fix their home's furnace.

"I have the right to tell somebody else these guys ripped me off," Jen said.

Furious, Jen decided to Get Gephardt.

As we began looking into this, we quickly learned that Jen is not alone in her frustrations with There are many posts in addition to Jen's on as well as other online consumer complaint boards. In 2010, the company was slapped with an "F rating" by the Better Business Bureau for "not delivering products purchased online in a timely manner," says the BBB's website. today has a "B" rating.

When we tried calling we were unsuccessful in getting through to anybody. By email, a person who did not identify him or herself defended the $3500 charge referring again to's terms of sale. As for Jen being threatened - remove the post or face a fine - the company said that was not blackmail but rather a, "diligent effort to help them avoid [the fine]."

Jeff Hunt is a First Amendment attorney in Salt Lake City. We asked him to weigh in on Jen's story.

"I think this is outrageous that a company like this would force a consumer to relinquish their first amendment rights to speak about their product as a condition of sale," Hunt said. "I've never seen anything like it."

Hunt says he thinks there is a good chance a judge would say that non-disparagement clause is unconstitutional.

"I have a serious question about whether a court would enforce that kind of covenant because it's massively over broad and against public policy," Hunt said.

As for Jen and her husband, they say they can't afford a lawyer. Get Gephardt has put her in touch with the media relations people at the credit bureau, Experian. She hopes one final appeal will get the ding removed.

There is some question as to whether or not that non-disparagement clause existed way back in 2008 when Jen wrote that negative review. says it did but website archives from 2008 don't show it the clause.

Either way, Jen says she wants others to be warned: If you buy anything from and you don't like the product or the service they say you are contractually forbidden from telling anybody about it. If you do, expect a bill. If you don't pay the bill, expect them to ding your credit.

By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Stephanie Clemens
Photography by Brian Morris
Edited by Aaron Colborn

CORRECTION: It was originally reported that Jen Palmer contacted to ask that the post be removed and Jen said she was told that having the post removed would cost $2000. That was not accurate. In a statement posted to Ripoff Report's Facebook page, founder ED Magedson writes, "Ripoff Report does not take down reports, for any amount of money. Never has and never will." Magedson continues: "$2000 is the cost of Ripoff Report's VIP arbitration program - a program that removes only challenged statements of facts in a report that are found to be false." Ripoff Report says it does not allow consumers to ever remove reviews. KUTV has confirmed the policy with Xcentric Ventures LLC, which operates 

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)Fined For Posting a Negative Review Online

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here

More Gephardt Stories

Fighting Facebook Fraud
Cost of Business Goes Up and Kraft Recalls Mislabeled Wieners
Good Question: Why Do Winners Of The Masters Get Green Jackets?
Michael's Security Breach Update, Coffee Production Being Threatened and General Mills' Forced Arbitration
National Mortgage Settlement Payments Delayed to Thousands
GM Dodges Recall Responsibility, Returns On Rented Property and Employee Rest Tied To Dishonesty
Fine Print Reveals a Company is Behind Tax Lien Notices
Computer Scam Alert, Congress Weighs In On E-Cigs and Beef at an All-Time High
Good question: What's the figure eight printed on globes?
Amazon Offers Employees $5,000 to Quit, Most Common I.R.S. Mistakes and Flyers in February Arrive Late
Chimney Sweep Folds with Consumer's Deposit
Heartland Virus Threat, I.R.S. Fields Your Calls and the Big Mac Budget Demonstration
XP Support Gone. What Now?
"Or your money back" Offer not Honored
Get Gephardt: Man Lands in Collections Despite Fully Paid Utility Bills
Good Question: How Were the Aquarium Fish Safely Moved?
GM Wins Crash Test Honors, FTC Cracks Down On Weight-loss Claims and CVS In Hot Water
Two Utah Men Brought Up On Tax Fraud Charges
Home Automation Failures Frustrate Customer
Yahoo Increases Email Security, SLC Marathon Set For April and Microsoft Introduces Its Siri
Wendover Casino Blocks Handicapped Stalls for Promotional Giveaway
New Scam Alert, Chrysler Recall and Amazon Joins the TV Market
Good Question: How do Taxpayers avoid being audited by the IRS?
If the IRS is Unresponsive, Try the Taxpayer Advocate
Mudslide Scammer Alert, Nissan Recall and New Trader Joe's Location in Salt Lake County
Insurance Mix Up Keeps Woman From Lifesaving Meds
E-Book Refund, College Tuition Increases and Unclaimed Tax Returns
Billing Bundle Bungled
Flood Insurance Increases, IRS Cash Crunch and Possible Apple & Comcast Partnership
Good Question: How is the Moment Spring Starts Determined?
Defiance May Soon Pay Off for Couple Fined Over Negative Comments
PS4 Announces VR Headset, Google Makes Smartwatches and 2010 Tax Returns Still Available
GM Spokesperson: Loaners, Rentals Available to 1.6 Million Drivers Impacted by Recall
Google Wins Viacom Lawsuit, Walmart Wants Used Games and Microsoft's Stock Surges
Fake IRS Auditors Attempt to Rip Off Taxpayers
Retailers Asked to Stop Selling Tobacco, NYC Requires Sick Time and New Expiration Date Labels
Good Question: Are E-Cigarette Commercials Legal?
Low Utah Unemployment Rate, Graco Recall Expanded and High Tax Return Average
ACA Marketplace Confusion Leaves Adults Signed Up for Pediatric Dental Care
Target Continues Damage Control, Staples Closing Locations and Facebook Blocks Gun Advertisements
Popular Provo Road-Race Organizer Stiffs Winners
Gov. Gets Wiretap Bill from Sprint, Guns Are Selling Well and F.T.C. Cracks Down
Fur Coat Storage Company Vanishes with Several Expensive Coats
Utah Benefits From Reopening Parks, RadioShack Closing Locations, EPA Regulations and Potential ATM Hacking
Semi-Pro Football Players Question the Disappearance of League Fees
Drought Affects Grocery Prices, Free Checking Disappears and Bill Gates On Top Again
Good Question: "How Do Search Engines Determine Search Result Orders?"
Airlines Cut Bereavement Fares, Internet Usage Goes Mobile and Wells Fargo Cuts Jobs
Stolen Debit Card Used at Days after Victim Shops at Target
Delta Changes Frequent Fliers Program, Sprint in Trouble over Nude Pictures and Min Wage Battle Continues
California Scheme Leaves Utahn, National Hispanics out Hundreds
Target Breach TimeLine, Facebook Email Says Goodbye and House Prices on the Rise
Lifetime Warranty Abruptly Cancelled
Taco Bell Breakfast, Disney Resort Price Increase and New Alumni Tracking Software
Man Injured At Amusement Park Awaits Damages
Credit Restored for Consumer Fined for Negative Online Review
Postal Service Issues, Hot Pocket Recall and Netflix vs. Verizon
Ex-Federal Worker: Someone Forged My Official Gov. Documents
Alarm Customer Moves But Cannot Cancel Service
Improving Medication Information, Groupon Deal and I.R.S. Tax Update
Advertise with us!


Pay It Forward
Fresh Living
Family Matters
Road Trippin
Hooked On Utah

Advertise with us!