It’s almost universal knowledge that most corporations are evil organizations that will stoop to almost any despicable low to make a buck. Recently, corporations have come under fire because they have been threatening lawsuits against outspoken, unhappy customers, reported AlterNet.

Yelp is a business aggregator that people use to research restaurants, mechanics, retail stores, and virtually any other type of business out there. Customers can also leave comments whether they be positive or negative. Corporations have been targeting the customers that have been leaving negative comments citing defamation.

Sometimes companies will slip in a “non-disparagement” clause in the terms and conditions agreement that we all have to agree to. These agreements are so lengthy and wordy that no one ever reads them, which is how the companies get away with inserting the non-disparagement clauses.

Arizona resident Kendra McConnell had gotten some automotive work done at Premier Coach Works in El Mirage, AZ. Unsatisfied with their service, she wrote a negative review on Yelp outlining her experience. Premier Coach Works didn’t take kindly to the review and sent her a letter threatening legal action. McConnell posted the letter on the original review, and Premier followed through.

Premier Coach Works dropped the suit only when McConnell agreed to remove the review. There are other incidents similar to McConnell’s that have happened all over the country.

The most recent, and dirtiest, example involves Comcast. The company allegedly contacted a disgruntled customer’s place of employment and had him fired. California resident Conal O’Rourke was overcharged by Comcast for 11 months. Fed up, O’Rourke contacted the company’s Controller to complain, and later the company contacted O’Rourke’s place of employment and said that he used the name of his employer during the call. After Comcast placed that sort of blame on O’Rourke, the company issued a public apology to the man.

AlterNet offers some handy tips on how consumers can protect themselves from nearly all companies. Basically, make sure you read the fine print, be cautious of companies that discourage honest reviewing, and also research any First Amendment advocacy groups that protect consumers if customers ever find themselves in a legal jam with companies.

There are lots of companies out there that pull no punches and will try any dirty little trick they can to rob its customer base of any amount of money possible. The smart thing to do is research reputations and services, and to know consumer protection laws.