A self storage facility, like all businesses, is subject to the risk of dissatisfied customers. Unfortunately,
with the use of social media, the megaphone for that dissatisfaction can be widespread. Therefore, if a
dispute does arise with a customer and the matter can be resolved, it is important for the facility
operator to include in its settlement terms that the facts of the dispute and its resolution are to remain
confidential and, most importantly, that the customer will agree to withdraw any negative social media
posts that it has placed and will desist from any future negative posting.
The intent of a settlement in a customer dispute (whether the issue involves rent, claims of property
loss or damage or even a lien sale) is to resolve the ongoing conflict with the dissatisfied customer. In
today’s world, one of the considerations for a facility to agree to the settlement of a claim is not only to
find a way to satisfy the unhappy customer but also to avoid the risk of negative customer reviews.
Therefore, two vital provisions should be included in any customer settlement agreement. One is a
confidentiality provision and the other, a non-disparagement provision. General terms for such
provisions are as follows:
Claimant agrees that the terms of this Agreement shall be confidential such that Claimant may not
disclose the terms or conditions of this Agreement to any person or entity, unless ordered to do so by a
Court of competent jurisdiction or to Claimant’s attorney(s) or accountant for tax and/or income
reporting purposes. The Claimant understands and agrees that this Paragraph is a material provision of
this Agreement and that any breach of this Paragraph shall be a material breach of this Agreement and
that the Respondent (business) would be irreparably harmed by any violation of this provision.
Claimant agrees that it will not, at present and at any time in the future, in any manner or by any
medium, disparage Respondent (business), its predecessor and/or successor companies, affiliates, its
current and former officers, directors and employees to the press or to any other third party through
any verbal or written medium including, but not limited to, social media. For the purpose of this
Agreement, disparage is defined as comments or statements that would be detrimental to the good
name and/or reputation of the Respondent (business), its predecessor and/or successor companies,
affiliates, its current and former officers, directors and employees. The Claimant understands and
agrees that this Paragraph is a material provision of this Agreement and that any breach of this
Paragraph shall be a material breach of this Agreement and that the Respondent (business) would be
irreparably harmed by any violation of this provision.
The power of social media, especially as to the reputation of a business, is significant. If a dispute arises
and can be settled, it is important to consider these elements of the settlement agreement as fair
consideration for reaching a resolution.
Scott Zucker is a founding partner in the Atlanta law firm of Weissmann Zucker Euster + Katz P.C.
(WZlegal.com) and has been practicing law since 1987. Scott represents self-storage owners and
managers throughout the country on legal matters including property development, facility
construction, lease preparation, employment policies and tenant claims defense. Scott is also a
member of the Self Storage Legal Network (SelfStorageLaw.com) and a contributor to Storage Lease