By Martin Griffith, The Associated Press:
"A Paris-based company says it will fight a U.S. judge's ruling against its attempt to force a Utah couple to pay a $3,500 penalty over a critical online review. Descoteaux Boutiques SARL, the parent company of online retailer Kleargear.com, issued separate statements this week saying John and Jen Palmer of Layton were aware of the company's "non-disparagement clause" in its sales contracts with customers.
firstname.lastname@example.org"The text that follows is the first and only public statement that Kleargear.com is going to do about the case of Palmer vs. Kleargear.com. With the exception of minority equity positions held by certain creditors during our restructuring of the company between 2006 and 2011, Descoteaux Boutiques (DBS) has fully owned and operated the Kleargear.com business (the domain name is leased) since the founding cataloger ceased its operations in 2004.
Our only presence in the United States and Canada has been via a network of third-party contractors, as DBS outsources several key business functions of our businesses on foreign markets including order fulfillment, warehouse operations, customer service, marketing, legal, payment processing and collections.
Any mail that is sent to Kleargear in care of any third-party vendor, including our fulfillment centers operated by Amazon Services and Chenal Brands, will be refused. None of our third party providers are statutory agents that are authorized to receive service of process. After we first learned on this dispute on the 22/04/14 via an e-mail from Aubrey Broome at Hoole & King, we have requested more information. No information has ever been provided. Mr. Palmer's attorney, Scott Michelman of Public Citizen Litigation Group, has since learned that DBS was never properly served under the Hague Convention and concealed this information critical of the court to improperly obtain a judgment by default. Once DBS has been served, we will vacate the judgment and litigate.
In written communication to Mr. Palmer on 4 June 2012, we informed him that the disparagement clause in our conditions of sale was present the 22 December 2008 when he has certified to us that he has read, understood and agreed to it: "The structure of our sales contract, referenced in your order check-out screens which we have on file from December 22, 2008, had three forks (today there are two): http://www.kleargear.com/help.html, http://www.kleargear.com/termsofuse.html and http://www.kleargear.com/tsaddendums.html."
Kleargear's Non-Disparagement Clause has never deleted from our online store in November last year, as it has been wrongly stated; it was simply relocated with other content on the new URLs. John Palmer's delinquent account was written off in October 2013 and, as part of a annual batch, which has been sold to a collection firm which is not linked to Fidelity Information Corp. DBS then instructed Fidelity to delete all accounts transferred from credit reporting agencies. It seems that Fidelity may have, by error, unable to delete one or more accounts until March 2014. If Mr. Palmer's debt remains unpaid, it will be re-reported to credit bureaus by subsequent owners of the account.
Ironically, if Mr. Palmer had simply approach Kleargear first last fall and requested a stay to finance their new furnace -- we would have worked with him. We are human beings. Instead, he has chosen a public forum."
Regards,Vic Mathieu Kleargear.com
Descoteaux Boutiques SARL
118-122 Avenue de France 75013
Paris,France. Phone: +33 (0) 1 82 88 88 18
Facsimile: +33 (0) 1 70 61 59 06 24 28 29 33
"If Kleargear decides to appear in court at long last, we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that the Palmers are entitled to relief, either because of the company's default or on the merits," Michelman told KUTV-TV.
Michelman maintains the company's non-disparagement clause is "one-sided contractual fine print to try to bully unsatisfied customers into silence."