A growing number of wedding vendors are adding clauses to their contracts that prohibit newlywed couples from posting any negative reviews online.
And brides who break these contracts are now being threatened with lawsuits — unless they take their review down.
‘One DJ told a bride she had to pay him $5,000 because his contract clearly calls for a fee if the couple posts anything below a five-star review,’ The Knot’s executive vice president, Kristin Savilia, told the Huffington Post.
Another newlywed bride, who goes by the name of Lauren Beale to protect her identity, had been waiting four months to receive her wedding day photos when she gave the photography company a four out of five stars review.
‘I had been haggled throughout the whole process, so I simply said I didn’t think it was a good value,’ she explained.
But the company, which was still yet to send Mrs Beale her photos, claimed the review was against the terms of her contract and threatened to take her to court.
Once Mrs Beale removed the post, the photographer backed off and gave her the images.
And she’s not the only bride who has had to bare the brunt of such fine print.
One anonymous Virginia bride recently blogged about a certified letter she received from a vendor who threatened her with a defamation lawsuit for up to $350,000.
And a bride from Chicago was similarly threatened by a photographer who she had originally booked but ultimately decided not to use.
‘If a bride sees this in a contract, she should go running for the hills’
‘They said they wanted to give me the opportunity to avoid legal action,’ she said, adding that she had left a fair review on the site explaining why she decided to use a different photographer.
Unbeknown to her, the booking and cancellation contract stated that neither party will disparage the other; so she ended up taking down her review in order to avoid any legal action.
‘If a bride sees this in a contract, she should go running for the hills to look for a more professional vendor,’ said Jonathon Towle of Apollo Fotografie in San Francisco.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to spot such clauses in a contract.
Mrs Beale said ‘there was no way the average person could understand’ the hidden clause in her contract, which ‘basically said they own everything I say or write about them.’
Attorney Rob Schenk of the Schenk Law Firm in Atlanta, suggests looking out for phrases like ‘non-disparagement’ or ‘agreement not to disparage’ — or just ask about their review policy.
And if you have your heart set on working with a vendor which has a no-review clause, Mr Schenk emphasized that ‘all contracts are negotiable.’ And If they refuse to budge, find someone else, he said.
Source: Daily Mail