Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Follow Up: Action on Behalf of Woman Fined for Penning Negative Online Review
(KUTV) "Horrible customer service practices."
Those are among the words Jen Palmer posted to RipoffReport-dot-com in 2008 about the online retailer Kleargear-dot-com. Jen says she was angry after some items her husband had ordered from Kleargear-dot-com were not shipped.
The transaction was ultimately cancelled and Jen said she couldn't get any answers from Kleargear-dot-com. She posted that negative review which, years later, resulted in her husband being ordered to pay $3500.
Kleargear-dot-com says Jen, and by extension her husband, violated a non-disparagement clause in Kleargear-dot-com's terms of sale. The clause specifically prohibits a customer from, "taking any action that negatively impacts Kleargear-dot-com, its reputation, products, services, management or employees."
Kleargear-dot-com also reported Jen's husband as a deadbeat for refusing to pay the fine which has damaged his credit score.
"I have the right to tell somebody else, these guys ripped me off," Jen said. "This is fraud. They're blackmailing us for telling the truth."
Jen's story, originally reported November 11, 2013 on KUTV and KUTV.com, went viral. It has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on KUTV.com and it was picked up by dozens of reporters and bloggers around the country and the world. Consumers who posted comments on many of these articles and blogs express outrage on Jen's behalf.
It seems Kleargear-dot-com noticed the attention. The company is in a social media lockdown; their Facebook page no longer exists and their Twitter account has been set to private.
And on Kleargear-dot-com, that non-disparagement clause Jen was accused of violating has been removed from the company's terms of sale.
What does that mean for Jen? We don't know. Kleargear-dot-com has not responded to KUTV's latest attempts to reach them. Previously, Kleargear-dot-com has refused to comment on any specifics relating to Jen and her husband's situation saying they are "legally prohibited" from doing so.
Going forward, Jen will not be fighting alone.
KUTV has been contacted by a number of lawyers and consumer groups asking to be put in touch with Jen so that they might be able to help her battle Kleargear-dot-com, including the Washington D.C. based Public Citizen Litigation Group. Wednesday, Jen said she has made an arrangement with the Public Citizen Litigation Group to represent her in court against Kleargear-dot-com.
Jen was also contacted by RipoffReport-dot-com which is offering to help her fight. Adam Kunz with RipoffReport-dot-com told KUTV Wednesday that the details of how they will assist are still being worked out, but he said he expects RipoffReport-dot-com will partner with Jen's other legal representation.
The attention brought by KUTV's original report has also gotten Kleargear-dot-com into some hot water with other organizations. The Better Business Bureau and a company called TRUSTe both confirm to KUTV that Kleargear-dot-com used their company's names and logos without having permission to do so. Both say they are currently investigating.
The Media Relations contact from the credit bureau Experian also confirmed to KUTV that they are investigating the deadbeat marks on Jen's husband's credit report.
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Stephanie Clemens
Edited by Aaron Colborn
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)