Couple Sues Retailer Over Credit Report Damage, Negative Review Fine

Couple Sues Retailer Over Credit Report Damage, Negative Review FineOnline retailer now faces a lawsuit from the Utah couple that was fined $3,500 for writing a negative review, resulting in bad marks on their credit reports.
The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $75,000 and accuses of defaming customers John and Jen Palmer, inflicting emotional distress, and violating the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, is suing the company on behalf of the Palmers.
“In sum, KlearGear attempted to punish a dissatisfied customer for his wife’s criticism of KlearGear, then abused the credit reporting system in an attempt to extort money that the customer did not owe and could not possibly have owed,” states the Palmers’ lawsuit, which was filed in a Utah federal court.
In December 2008, Jen Palmer wrote a negative review on private business review site, saying had “horrible customer service practices.” She did so when didn’t deliver Palmer’s online Christmas order of a desk ornament and keychain that cost less than $20.
Last summer, her husband, a senior network engineer, received an email from demanding $3,500 pursuant to a “non-disparagement clause” that it claimed was in its “Terms of Use” on its website.
The Palmers assert that they asked RipOffReport to remove the negative review, but the site has an arbitration process that requires the involvement of the targeted business. The couple say they relayed this information with, but the company didn’t respond.
The Palmers refused to pay the fine, prompting to report their “debt” to one or more credit reporting agencies, the suit claims.
When the Palmers disputed the debt with several credit reporting agencies, continued to maintain that the debt be paid and then demanded a $50 “dispute fee” because they attempted to dispute the debt, the couple claims.
“Companies like that engage in abusive consumer practices need to be deterred,” said Scott Michelman, an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen.

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