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Unhappy customer asked to sign legal agreement not to write a bad review (cbc.ca)
53 points by pseudolus 71 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

I'll never fathom the business minds that think these kinds of things are a solution, in whatever industry. If you have to start passing out legal agreements to cover up your business practices, you've got to know on some level that you're circling the drain, right? At that point why not just get out of business while you can? Especially in our hyper-connected and social media heavy present, why even take the risk of "being found out" when the risk is so incredibly high? You're effectively playing Russian roulette with your financial future each time you do it.

Because they're shortsighted idiots. Based on your comment I assume you're not a shortsighted idiot, so it's going to be hard for someone like you to understand their mentality. If you've ever had the displeasure of working with people like this (like I have) you'll know what I'm talking about. They're usually stubborn and can't be reasoned with. The good news, though, is that it's very easy to compete against these dumbasses if you're in the same line of business.

I'll never fathom the lawmakers that allow this sort of stuff to be legal.

It's like forced arbitration clauses. Yes, they're useful in certain contexts, but the second the power dynamic changes between the two entities, forced arbitration should no longer be valid.

I would argue there are no places forced arbitration is useful. It's only even slightly legitimate function seems to be reducing the load on the legal system, which, why? We have a legal system to enforce justice. If it's overloaded, increase the damn budget. This is akin to saying "we will only have firemen on call from 8am to 10pm, for budget constraints." If my house is on fire at midnight, fucking firemen better show up. Pay what's needed and raise taxes if required.

It's never a good idea. It's not really a power imbalance that matters, but rather that the powerful will consider an arbiter's past decisions in deciding whether to accept them.

Thus an arbiter who wants to keep on being an arbiter will tilt things considerably towards the powerful and an arbiter between two powerful entities will split their decisions about in the middle. Give a union binding arbitration and they can simply double their demands and end up with basically whatever they really asked for in the long run.

Entire industries are, or at least used to be pre-internet, dominated by "cowboys" - this sort of big job which a customer will only ever buy once a decade is ripe for it. They do the minimum they can to avoid getting actually sued most of the time. Sometimes they "phoenix" a company to ditch a bad reputation and even bad debts.

The appearance of good practices matters more than the actual situation.

Tesla tried to do this to a friend of mine. In 2015 his Model S was delivered with missing or defective rivets "holding a horizontal part of the unibody to a vertical part". This was discovered when he took the car in for them to diagnose an annoying squeak after a few days of ownership.

He balked at having the car repaired by a bodyshop, because he wondered what else might be wrong. Tesla offered a new, identically configured car to replace the defective one. However, they wanted him to sign what was effectively an NDA. The problem was that he couldn't, as he'd already talked to people about it. Even if he hadn't, he probably would not have signed it anyway on general principles.

Attorney here! (This is not legal advice - consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.)

This sounds like a garden-variety term of a settlement agreement. The parties disagree as to whether money is owed, and to settle their dispute, the contractor is offering the customer some money (or at least to drop their demand for some amount of payment) in exchange for not publicizing their grievance.

In this case, the homeowner decided not to accept the offer, and so they are exercising their right to complain about the contractor.

The fact that this made the news is probably the most newsworthy thing of all.

What's weird about this is that the CBC is portraying this as though the money involved is not in dispute. But that can't be the case: if you already have a contract, you can't add terms to the contract without changing the consideration in some way. For example, if I agree to lawn for $20, and then I mow your lawn, you can't demand that you sign a non-disparagement agreement for me to get my $20. But if I mow only half your lawn and then demand it, then you can. The consideration for the non-disparagement agreement is your foregoing legal action against me.

Two lessons:

* When a contractor holds petty cash hostage like this, take them to small claims and don't let them force you to sign away your rights.

* Don't do business with a group that can't see why "OGC" is a bad initialism.

> Don't do business with a group that can't see why "OGC" is a bad initialism.

Why is it a bad initialism?

I've never seen that before and it's much funnier than the "Office of General Counsel" that pops in my head for "OGC".

The biggest lesson here: do not pay fully up-front, ever. Pay 25% (at most) before work starts, and pay the rest at milestone-based intervals.

I've recently had a minor renovation in my condo (removing/replacing "Kitec" piping, ugh, what a mess). Getting the contractors to come back and fix all their mistakes and screw ups ("oh, it's normal that all the taps should cause loud thumps in other rooms when you turn them off") took weeks.

The big difference for me is that I still owe them the majority of the cost. I'll happily pay it, now that all of the nonsense is over with and we have our repairs, but I sure as heck won't be signing any paperwork that says I can't speak freely about the experience.

(On Kitec)

> Class action lawsuits were filed in Canada and the US and recalls began in 2005. IPEX, the manufacturer, and its insurer deny that the system is defective but agreed to a $125 million settlement.

.. ouch.

What was causing the thumps? How did they fix it?

Almost certainly a "water hammer" effect mixed with pipes that weren't mounted tightly to a frame, allowing the pipes to get a good amount of movement during the water hammer event

This is correct. The new pipes were of a different diameter (problem #1) so there was a water hammer, a pressure wave moving back through the pipe when the tap was turned off. Being plastic pipes, they moved quite a bit when this happened.

The pipes were also installed by non-certified plumbers (problem #2), I'm pretty sure. In many cases, the pipes were not tied into anything in the wall. We had to fix the last couple of these issues ourselves, where the pipe was actually resting against the drywall, and would move, thumping against it. All the while the contractor is saying this is normal and expected.

My wife, a certified Professional Engineer, something in her finally snapped. She said "get in the car, we're going to Rona[0]". I dutifully followed her around with a basket that she filled with equipment and supplies. We cracked open the walls, tied in the pipes correctly, patched the holes, repainted. Home back to normal now.


The Streisand effect is strong in this one.

> The company did return to finish the work in May

Not only are they refusing to refund for the issues that are their fault until such an agreement is signed, they are refusing the finish the work that the customer has (presumably) already paid for. Definitely a company to avoid.

Actually, cancel that: I obviously didn't properly read what I was quoting, and they "did return to finish the work in May". Still their behaviour (demanding something in exchange for a "good will gesture", delaying the work over the disagreement) is far from that which would engender me to take on their services myself.

Sounds like every severance agreement ever.

The Streisand Effect strikes again. I'm sure this tactic worked for a while, but one pissed off victim going to the national news media means the whole thing unravels.

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