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Attention vacationers

Basically... when you rent a vacation property, the contract stipulates that you may not post a negative review online. Doctors and dentists invented this "confidentiality clause," and now it's spreading to other industries. They have your credit card number, so if you violate the agreement, they can just charge your card for the stated "fine" amount.
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Villi Helgason's profile photoBisbo Nian's profile photoAmwas Willbe's profile photoGreg Batten's profile photo
7 comments
 
If I were to see this in the rental conditions, it would influence my decision to go elsewhere.
 
Wow .. what a trap for uninformed players ! Even before this there was increasing litigation by disgruntled property owners. What it really boils down to is the fact that online reviews are probably misleading and worthless.
Ultimately, though, the property owners have nowhere to hide. The protective clauses may not apply to de-identified feedback solicited and published by your booking agency, or your word-of-mouth dissing to close friends, or even to complaints made to statutory authorities.
 
Bah. I'll write whatever frickin' review I want on any publicly offered goods or services. Let them take me to court. That's not an enforceable thing.
 
Easy to get round. You write something like the following.

'I would review this holiday property properly but the rental agreement has a clause stating I cannot say anything negative in an on-line review without paying a fine of $XXX.

As I dont have a spare $XXX at this moment I wont say any more about this place.'
 
This is just a shifting of the burden of litigation expenses from the libeled property owner (expensive to pursue, difficult to prove damages) to the customer whose money is taken without due process or recourse (easy and profitable). Note that the "fine" is small enough that it would be relatively expensive to pursue (and of course wouldn't save the property owner from the receivership that Silverman mentions in the article), but is large enough to be painful.

Personally I'd have the credit card company refuse the charge, then let the property owner come to me, and I'd avoid Silverman's property like the plague it must contain. You reading this, Ken?
 
"There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false."
 
I like it in the olden days, when holiday makers just gave you a discount for a good review on TripAdvisor. That was much more honest.
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