Right to complain: fighting back against Roca Labs

Pissedconsumer, a website that's being sued by a supplements company called Roca Labs whose diet aids come with terms-of-service that prohibit complaining about them, has filed its opposition to Roca's request for an injunction — it's quite a read.

Included in the injunction is an independent medical analysis that states that Roca's products are "primarily … industrial food thickening agents" that "could lead to health problems in some individuals, including gastrointestinal distress. Moreover, based upon the ingredients contained in the Product, it could also cause additional unintended side effects in a large number of users, including diarrhea, bloating, intestinal discomfort, gas, constipation, intestinal blockage, dehydration, headaches, and dizziness."

Which would explain why Roca wants to be sure that its customers aren't allowed to complain about its products.

A critical reader would likely presume that something is amiss upon reading the key clause in Roca Labs' purchase terms…. "In exchange for a significant discount… customers contractually agree that, regardless of their outcome, they will not speak, publish, print, blog or write negatively about ROCA or its products in any forum." …. However, these same terms fail to disclose the amount of this "discount" or "subsidy." …. Roca then requires its customers to agree inter alia that they "consent to and agree to entry of an injunction… in enforcement of your violation of this term and condition," and that the customer will then pay an elevated price for the product…. This is alongside the company's "no refunds" and "no returns" policies, and a waiver of any chargeback rights even if the product never arrives…. Roca Labs tries to scare its customers with clauses that provide it with a unilateral right to recoup not only an elevated price for the product, but "any expenses we incur in resolving the issue", and that if any of them make a negative comment, it will (apparently even if true) "constitute defamation per se, entitling [Roca Labs] to injunctive relief and damages."…. The coup de grace is a section providing for a one-sided attorneys' fees provision, if a user dares to utter a negative word in public…

Does that sound like an upstanding company that stands behind its safe and reliable product? Or does that sound like a disreputable company, producing tubs of snake oil (or snake goop, as it were), and which knows that too much truth will hurt its fly-by-night bottom line? Roca Labs is desperately trying to force a cone of silence over each and every customer that discovers that Roca Labs' product is not only a specious remedy for their weight issues, but a potential cause of additional health problems. Plaintiff, desperate to sell as many of its tubs of goo to the public as it can before regulatory agencies come knocking does its best to bully its former customers into silence.

PissedConsumer Fights Back Against Roca Labs' Attempt To Silence Customer Complaints [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]