As you enter the new year of 2018, you probably are planning to eat at restaurants, stay in hotels, visit doctors and other professionals, and shop online and in stores. Before spending your hard-earned dollars, you may be one of millions of people who go to review sites, like Yelp, to make sure that you will be spending your money at establishments that have earned favorable reviews. But what happens when vendors and providers require contractual clauses that ban consumer reviews? Enter the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016.
In his paper titled Understanding the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016, Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Eric Goldman explains that “[c]onsumer reviews are vitally important to our modern economy” and that “[m]arkets become stronger and more efficient when consumers share their marketplace experience and guide other consumers toward the best vendors and away from poor ones.” Continue reading Fairness When It Comes to Consumer Reviews
The short-term lodging landscape has changed radically in recent years. Rather than always book hotels when away from home, people now frequently book to stay in the homes or apartments of other people through sites like Airbnb and VRBO. The growth in this area is reflected by the $30 billion estimated worth of Airbnb. But does this mean that these short-term rental sites are completely free of legal concerns? No.
According to a recent Fortune.com article, regulations passed in various jurisdictions threaten the online, short-term rental model. For example, New York has passed regulations that Airbnb says could damage its business in New York City — its largest market in the United States. Hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit claiming the law will cause “irreparable harm.” Continue reading Platforms Like Airbnb and VRBO to Thrive or Facing Legal Reckoning?
Online retailers across the United States have one more issue to consider as they prepare for the next sale: a growing number of lawsuits under the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA) alleging that standard online terms of service agreements on websites violate the New Jersey bar on deceptive notices.
The TCCWNA—N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 et. seq.—was enacted in 1981 to prohibit businesses from using provisions that deceived consumers about their legal rights. The statute provides a private right of action that allows both actual customers and prospective buyers to bring suit against businesses. Businesses that violate the TCCWNA are liable to aggrieved consumers for $100, actual damages, or both, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.
To read the full text of the Alert, please visit www.duanemorris.com.