Kleargear must pay $306,750 for trashing a complaining customer's credit

The notorious online retailer Kleargear (previously) has been ordered to pay $306,750 in damages (including punitive damages) as well as legal costs to Jennifer and John Palmer. The Palmers wrote an online complaint when they didn't get their Kleargear order, only to have Kleargear send them a bill for $3500 for violating a "nondisparagement clause" in the company's terms of service; when they didn't pay it, Kleargear damaged their credit rating, which ended up sabotaging a house-purchase for the couple. Kleargear claims to be based in France, and refused to participate in the case against them.

Over three years later, her husband John Palmer received an e-mail demanding that the review be deleted within 72 hours or that he pay $3,500 as he was in violation of the company's "non-disparagement clause" of its terms of service. However, such a term did not appear in the Terms of Sale and Use that the Palmers had agreed to when they placed their order in 2008.

When the Palmers refused to pay or take down the review, KlearGear sent a collection agency to them for this money, which damaged their credit by August 2012.

By December 2013, the Palmers filed suit in federal court in Utah, asking the judge to issue a declaratory judgment in their favor, saying that the Palmers' "debt" was "null and void." The couple also wanted the judge to rule that John Palmer had not agreed to this "non-disparagement clause," which is in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

KlearGear must pay $306,750 to couple that left negative review [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]

(Image: The scam truck, Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier, CC-BY)