Feeds

back to article eBayer sued for leaving negative feedback

A Florida man faces a $15,000 defamation lawsuit for leaving negative feedback on an eBay seller. Michael Steadman, a 49-year-old welding business owner, bought a $44 employee time clock via the web's favourite tat bazaar in November 2008, Florida Today reports. According to Steadman, the clock arrived in bits and did not work …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
FAIL

I wonder how many people will risk trading with this particular trader now.

The fact that the trader will suffer far far more negative impact from one legal case than from one negative feedback, leaves me with the impression that it is opportunism.

10
1

What can you do?

I suppose you can just say something like, "I will not buy anything from this seller again." and let people read into it what they will.

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

Stand by for the Streisand Effect (n/t)

Title says it.

1
1
Silver badge

so much for the theory

that it ain't lible if its the truth.

0
0
Silver badge

'twas the insult, not the facts

at a guess I'd say the lawyer objected to having hs ethics impugned (though what could be more insulting than to be called a "lawyer" I don't know) with the comparison to a used car salesman. Personally I'd have left (and _have_ left) fb along the lines of "would not recommend this seller" which gives enough warning but isn't defamatory

1
1
Welcome

Class action suit?

Surely Miller will now face a class action suit from every used car salesman? According to Miller, being compared to one is damaging, so...

I for one welcome our new feedback defaming overlords.

0
0
FAIL

Farce upon farce

The levels of fail here are wonderful.

eBay if fundamentally broken if this goes ahead - any negative feedback can degenerate into a war of lawyers so that the richer people keep better ratings (who cares enough about eBay ratings to pay > $7k in legal fees?).

A legal system which allows this to go ahead, meaning no one with any element of common sense or proportionality is involved at any stage, is fundamentally broken. Sadly it seems all the legal systems are. Every one involved now is too scared to say "shut up you conning, lying idiot" to stop the process, so off to court it goes - with no one but the lawyers winning.

In the words of twitter #epicfail

2
0

It's the US legal system, though

Where I believe you can sue anyone for anything, so long as you've for the money to pay the fees. Common sense and proportionality may come into it once you get into court, but since this case doesn't seem to have gotten that far yet....

1
1
FAIL

Simple solution

Make comments anonomous - ebay should allow the seller to communicate to the commenter via their service - no id is made known.

Is the Lawyer saying that used car salesmen are somehow inferiour to him ? Perhaps the used car salesmen professional body should sue the lawyer...

1
0

In the article

It says that the buyer received the item - so the seller would have had his name and address for shipping purposes.

0
0
Flame

Bought a few things on eBay...

...and was accused of being a thief once by a total muppet of a seller. It was another buyer that got in touch and we had to privately sort our who had got what instead of what we'd ordered. End up with me being one part down and bit out of pocket, so complaint to PayPal.

Never thought of suing the seller for negative feedback though. One neg in a sea of positives is hardly the end of the world, is it?

Lawyers - second against the wall come the revolution.

0
0
Go

Would the world miss lawyers?

I seriously doubt it. There might be a few more initial punch ups are people resolved their difference in a more old fashioned way but seriously who would miss them?

Take them out and beat them to death with a brick if they don't agree to get a proper job!

2
0
Thumb Down

<title>

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

1
0
FAIL

Threats of legal action on ebay

I was asked to leave feedback before receiving a refund to try to ensure I left positive comments after the seller couldn't supply in anything like the time-frame promised. I insisted on the refund before I left feedback & reported the seller to ebay who did little to help. I finally got my refund after the seller took his own legal advice, but after he'd also phoned my home & had a intimidating conversation with my wife.

When he phoned again & I answered he apologised, asked me not to leave bad feedback & when I asked him why on earth I should comply after the experience we were having with him, he said he ran a martial arts equipment business too (more intimidation) & his solicitors would be onto me if I said anything bad... so I simply posted:

"BAD exp; Out of stock; Got refund; Threat of legals if I left bad fb; Terrible."

All facts that are beyond dispute with evidence to back it up. Avoid personal opinions & stick with indisputable facts & surely the law can't touch you for libel, but other potential buyers will get the message to avoid!

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Telling the truth!

WTF is wrong with telling the truth?

If what you've bought is a pile of crap, what is wrong with saying that?

I bought something on etat that was obviously fake (the photo, was a photo of the real thing), and asked for a refund, got no answer and eventually left negative feedback, seller got in a huff and I've not bought anything from etat ever again.

Oh! the seller said my request for a refund must have ended up in his spam folder, yeah right (!)

0
0

Wrong title

He hasn't really been sued for leaving negative feedback, has he? He's been sued because he compared the seller to a used car salesman and said he was "bad", and he happened to do it in the feedback form on eBay.

1
0

Just stick to the facts...

Say what happened, not what you think about it. People CAN read and there's nothing big or clever about making stuff up about someone. Instead of saying "has the ethics of a used car salesman" he should have said "Clock arrived in pieces and did not work. Refund very difficult to get. Unhappy experience for me overall." All factual or experienced by the buyer, who could have no possible way of knowing the seller's ethics.

I thought we weren't allowed to leave negative feedback for sellers any more anyway? I pulled my account ages ago when they stopped being a flea market and went all commercial.

2
1
Silver badge

So glad

I'm so happy I don't use what in my opinion is a low-rent shit-fight of a car boot sale. Nowadays there seems to be far more superior places to buy cheaply from if people care to look.

3
0
Grenade

SSDD

The entire feedback system on ebay is rubbish anyway. I've had most of the negative feedback I've left removed, for example

"Charged £9 shipping for a 2nd hand crushed jiffybag with no extra packing"

"Listing said complete,arrived missing 2 parts"

I can't see how either of them break ebay's rules

The reciprocal negative feedback the parties in question left me is still there however <shakes head>

2
0

Strategy fail

Paying a lawyer to defend you from another lawyer is like hiring a vampire as a bodyguard for a walk through the graveyard. You're going to become a drained husk either way; does it really matter whose fangs get in deepest?

5
0
Flame

Same thing .. another site

Sellers on Amazon tend to be a bit "protective" of their reputations also. I left a negative comment there on one bookstore after they sent a paperback that was not just "thumbed" but "cracked spine / ripped cover".

They corrected it but then also emailed me asking for the comment to be removed.

My view was that the comment was put there because they'd not been careful enough the first time round. Any action taken "after the fact" was still "after the fact".

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Americans are funny folk

I sold a keyboard for a laptop and stated it was a UK keyboard, taken from a UK laptop and even included photos of the same keyboard. An American ended up winning it and eventually posted a negative comment that the item he received was a UK keyboard and not a US one which is what he was looking for and was not happy and claiming I should be banned for selling the wrong parts. Really I am not sure exactly what he expected to be delivered but he got what he bidded on.,

Still trying to get ebay to remove the neg.feedback off my account. There really is no pleasing some folk.

1
0
Silver badge

Amusing feedback...

Reading feedback from Amazon, it can be quite amusing to look for all the one and two stars to see the <cough> interesting </cough> reasons people mark books down. Consider, for example, this one - http://www.amazon.com/Japan-Rail-2nd-route-guides/product-reviews/1873756976/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#RXHBB3QMOFQY8 - it is a lovely book and I would love to go, but this person is not in Japan as a tourist so is not eligible for the cheaper fares. Between you and me, I would score this book high because it mentioned it at all, rather than marking it down for covering it on page 12. Would you rather find out on page 12, or arguing your case in Narita station when it's a little bit too late...?

.

Surely the big lesson here is if you feel the need to leave negative feedback, do so using ONLY the facts. No emotion, no comparisons with used car salesmen. If others are incapable of reading between the lines, too bad for them.

0
0
Wkd
Joke

Hug a lawyer

Dont blame the lawyers. Blame the people who instruct them, The lawyer is after all just carrying out the request of the client in a way that gets the best for the client.

All the lawyer gets is a modest fee for using his knowledge of how to use the law to screw every last ounce from BOTH sides before they go bankrupt as a result of the action.

Now come on guys hug a lawyer hes the real victim in this.

Posted from my nice AC office on the top floor of a law firm. ^_^ Even lawyers need IT support

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Scruples and Ethics

They might need IT support but you don't have to give it to them, let them sink in their own cess pit, or better still, let them think they can support themselves, that always leads to fun.

0
0
FAIL

lower than car-sales AND politician

And just proved it with the lawsuit. Wanker!

4
0

Money = justice

What we see here is a classic case of the failings of the US legal system. A wealthy party sues a not so wealthy party knowing full well that they are wrong, but also knowing full well that the defending party cannot afford to purse the lawsuit.

Unless somebody stumps up with some cash to pay the buyer's legal expenses they will be forced to drop the case due to the cost of lawyers and so on.

This is how companies like McDonald's are able to close down family restaurants run by people names McDonald, and how celebrities win legal cases against people that they raped/shot/screwed over in some way or other.

They throw lawyers and money at them knowing that the other buy will run out of money long before the case is complete.

0
0

In Utopia

“They have no lawyers in Utopia for they consider them the sort of people whose job it is to disguise the matter of things” (or something like that, someone once said).

0
0
Grenade

Hey!

My girlfriend is a used car salesme-, er person!

0
0
Unhappy

I am not an American lawyer...

but I do know that 'Libel' in Australia is more often referred to as 'Defamation', which is a very different legal beastie.

'Defamation' is something that causes financial or reputation damage, whether or not it is true. Yes, thats right, truth has got nothing to do with the matter, you simply have to prove someone forced you to lose dosh (my god, the most heinous crime EVAR!). It is effectively a method for media owners / politicians / the ultra-rich pond scum who own this country to stifle any criticism whatsoever.

0
0
Silver badge

which mean what in this case?

The US concept of libel/slander does require the statement to be false. to understand what libel is please see:

http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Public_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm

if you pay attention to it the attorney is quite unlikely to win. (the statement is not demonstrateably "a false statement of fact"). He probibly filed this to herass the defendent, thinking there would be no consiquences. Personally, I would file a complant with the bar about him, and include in my argument that the lawsuit is frivulous. oh and then leav him some feedback "sued me for leaving bad feedback. would not buy from".

1
0
Coffee/keyboard

An Internet Hero

Wish I had the balls to do that - my most recent negative feedback was from someone claiming that I hadn't refunded them the full amount, but they were confused with another order, because all I did was click the paypal refund button. Either that or just spite, since the guy was pissy through the whole transaction.

Nowadays, Ebay doesn't allow sellers to give anything but positive feedback, no matter how demanding or even fraudulent someone has been.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.