Remember the Florida apartment complex that got a lot of attention for giving tenants a contract banning harsh online reviews? A Utah apartment complex is going one better: instead of squelching negative reviews, owners of the complex are trying to coerce tenants into giving positive feedback.
Last week, tenants at City Park Apartments, located in Salt Lake City, received a “Facebook Addendum” posted on their doors, outlining what’s expected of them. Most jarring was a requirement that they “friend” the complex within five days.
The predictable results are already rolling in. Rather than a flood of “likes,” the City Park Apartments contract became a story on KSL, a local TV station. By Sunday, The Associated Press picked up the story and made it national. The complex hasn’t gotten the positive feedback it hoped for; instead, it has racked up more than 800 one-star reviews on an unofficial Facebook page.
“I don’t want to be forced to be someone’s friend and be threatened to break my lease because of that,” tenant Jason Ring told KSL-TV. “It’s outrageous as far as I’m concerned.”
For good measure, the Addendum bans negative reviews as well.
In general, contracts that require customers to give up their rights to review services haven’t held up in court. The contracts themselves can get companies into legal trouble. In 2003, a New York judge found that a contract barring customers from publishing reviews of software programs “without prior consent” violated that state’s unfair competition law.
The document also includes a release allowing the complex to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on Facebook.
Representatives for City Park Apartments didn’t respond to inquiries from KSL-TV or the AP.
This post originated on Ars Technica