back to article Man threatens lawsuit after negative eBay feedback

An eBay shopper may face libel charges after posting negative feedback about a seller on the auction site. Chris Read, a 42-year-old mechanic from Kent, wasn't satisfied with the Samsung phone he purchased on eBay, reports the Daily Telegraph. For one thing, it wasn't the right phone. It was also described to be in "good" …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Hardly a shocking event

    Give the way eBay treats sellers these days, this isn't entirely unexpected.

  2. David Lavery
    Thumb Down

    Seriously What the hell?

    Ok, the guy is complaining because he sold the wrong phone, not in the condition specified, and got negative feedback? I don't care if the guy got his money back, if a shop sold you the wrong thing, you would be narked reguardless of the fact you got a refund. The guy needs to grow a pair, man up and take the comment like man instead of a whinging child.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Libel?

    I admit it is a bit quick to jump the gun on the feedback when a refund was offered, but I don't see the guy denying anything in the content of the feedback.

    If you shift dodgy stuff, then expect to get negative feedback ...what a tw@t.

  4. Kanhef

    Only libel if it's false

    Should be an open-and-shut case: Look at the listing, look at the phone, see if they match. If they do, it's libel; if not, the fault goes the other way for false advertising.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Toys. Pram.

    Nuff said.

    Oh, AC'd because I don't want to be sued for saying the seller is a bit of a namby-pamby girly-man.

    And of course, suing the buyer is going to give the seller lots of positive feedback...? Durrr.

  6. yeah, right.

    wow

    To think that a case like this would actually go to court, rather than be summarily thrown out as it so richly deserves to be. I hope that the punter not only gets his costs, but also counter-sues for malicious prosecution.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about the other 5 negative feedback left?

    Is he going to sue them too?

    How about the person who returned the can of sardines? Sue him/her as well?

    Or how about the person who left negative feedback for no email response? Sue them as well?

    What's worse, negative feedback for a poor auction description & wrong item received, or negative feedback for "no email response"?

  8. jake Silver badge

    barratry

    Hopefully, Read knows the above legal term ... Jones has no chance of winning, and knows it. In theory he has no intention of actually filing suit ...

  9. filey
    Pirate

    looky lou

    seller has lots of negs and such!

    http://www.toolhaus.org/cgi-bin/negs?User=onsalexuk&Dirn=Received+by

    not sure why he is so bothered about just the latest, sounds like a seller i'd prefer to avoid

  10. filey

    further

    more reading of the ebay listing shows me that it is indeed the F700 offered in the description, the F700V written on the box in the picture, but not in the description, thought to counteract this he states:

    ITEM IS IN GOOD CONDITION

    ITEM IS IN ORIGINAL BOX

  11. Nigel Whitfield

    Ummm...

    From the reports, the seller doesn't seem to have denied the problems - just pointed out that he gave a refund, and isn't that sweet of him.

    And sure, it's terribly sweet and all - fulfilling his legal obligations to sell things that are as described.

    But I can't help feel that that doesn't actually wipe out the fact of the error in the first place, does it? If there really was a problem with the item shipped, then claiming he's can't have been libelled because he fixed the problem is bonkers.

    Sure, the eBay feedback system is screwed - but that doesn't give sellers carte-blanche to sue people into pretending mistakes and errors never happened.

  12. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Sounds like they're both being dicks..

    It sounds like they're both being dicks to me. I mean, the buyer SHOULDN'T leave negative feedback if the seller took the item back... it was probably an honest mistake. Especially if he then received the right phone.

    On the other hand, suing?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great

    Maybe it will balanace out the pricks who love to scam and manipulate the sellers, Ive been ripped off by lots of buyers saying goods were not what they thought. When if they could read they might have noticed the detail in the auction.If often goes like this

    buyer buys something

    we email to confirm they have the goods and to request feed back. ( we leave them feed back anyway)

    They reply a couple of weeks later saying its no good blah blah, or say they never got the stuff. (even when signed for) and then say "We will leave neg feedback if you dont give us our money back in full". I say return the stuff they say , "no I'm not paying postage FO". We can no longer win as we can not leave neg feedback about buyers, I know of one trader who has closed his shop as he was being scammed for the guts of 1000 per month. Ebay didnt seem to interested nor paypal.

    Ebay also seem to like upgrading your shop to featured when they feel like it and not telling you.

    The cost and risk of selling anything of any value on EBay has gotten to high, Ive cleared out my space and will close the shop in a couple of days. The 100 dollars it was costing me in fees n crap per month will buy me about 5k's worth of sales from google ads and sell directly from my own site.

    Bring it on.

  14. Mart
    Thumb Down

    Why this one?

    He's had six negative feedback in the last six months, so why single out Mr Read? It's not like this was the one that cost him his 100%, or the only one mentioning scratches.

  15. milan

    only one action?

    Odd considering that he has other negative feedbacks. As for this one hurting his business, perhaps if he had anything listed for sale it might increase his chances of selling something.

  16. Miss Tessa
    Thumb Down

    not the right model??

    If its dented or scratched fair, enough, but the specs between the F700 and the F700v (V for Vodaphone version) are the same, so whats the problem?

    You would have thought the picture of the phone and box, with Vodaphone stamped on the top of the phone and the box with Samsung SGH-F700v , Vodaphone written on the side would have given the buyer a good idea of what he was buying?

    Perhaps he saw the stock pic of the phone and ignored the actual pic of the item.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Huh?

    Ok, let me get this straight, this Read buys item A from Jones, Jones supplies a battered version of item B, Read posts a polite "negative feedback" and Jones is throwing his toys out of his pram?

    Ok, what's next, you can done for slander for caling the guy who spilt your pint in the pub "a wanker"? Film & music critics can be sued for giving poor reviews? I thought "opinion pieces" were protected? Surely that is what feedback is?

    Seems to me that Read was so far within his right to post his comment it is ridiculous, and that Jones has just been introduced to a fundamental law of business - you fuck up, then it directly & adversely affects your business. Read should be charging him for "consultancy fees".

    I so hope to god that if this goes anywhere near a court that Jones is fined so harshly for wasting the courts time that he is put out of business.

    Oh and Read, if you're reading this, sock it to him!!!

    Jones, if you're reading this, you're a prick.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ugh.

    How can this man expect to win? If this sort of thing isn't already covered in the ebay T&Cs, then no court would actually take this on as a libel suit, as "item was scratched, chipped, and not the model advertised" is not libel in any way, even if the feedback-leaver was lying, it would not be libel. Whats next, taking people to court for giving an album a bad review? A TV show? Complaining about the price of a supermarket?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6 other negatives in the last 6 months!

    Oh please, he's had 6 negatives in the last 6 months.. one more negative hasn't suddenly tipped the balance and screwed his business.

    1) his ebay store is getting more bids

    2) some griefers will be bidding just to win & post negative comments and start paypal disputes.

  20. Darren Bell
    Flame

    Nuts

    He's mad. His id is now buzzing round the interweb. This suit is going to do more harm than any negative feedback could. Anyway, he's had a total of 9 negatives. Why isn't he suing them.

    Anyway, this is the whole point of the feedback system. Doh.

  21. JT2008
    Flame

    What?

    You have to be joking.

    Guess this is one of those, "I can sue anyone for anything at any time" moments.

    The guy who says his e-bay business is going under from negative feedback needs to look in the mirrir to see why he got the negative feedback in the first place.

  22. martin

    Complete defence

    A complete defence to a libel allegation is simply that it was the truth.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sympathy for both...but it's a bit counter productive

    I have sympathy for both parties here. The buyer didn't get the item in the condition described (according to him) and the seller did give a full refund. However taking a guy to court for negative feedback is OTT. Looking at his feedback profile the seller has had a couple of complaints about similar things but surely not enough to discourage a buyer. If anything, the seller would probably discourage buyers if they think they can't be honest in their feedback.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Feedback

    Why didn't he just give him a +0 feedback? After all, he did receive the refund...

  25. Eugene Goodrich

    Defense against libel?

    Is it a defense against Libel in those parts to have told the truth?

  26. Graham Marsden

    Hmm...

    Looking at the posted link, in the last 12 months he's had 9 Negative Feedbacks and 10 Neutral, so why threaten legal action now?

    Perhaps leaving negative feedback instead of neutral was a bit harsh, given that the customer got a full refund, but threatening legal action because of this...?

  27. kain preacher Silver badge

    Wow

    Business must not be that good if he has that much time to waste

  28. Webster Phreaky
    Alert

    eBay does NOTHING to cull the MANY DirtBag Sellers.

    I bought a claimed new RC transmitter set from a seller and paid for it via Paypal just 20 minutes after winning the bid - I needed it fast for my kids new plane. I asked the seller, who had offered in the bid to ship it via Priority Mail with the normal USPS tracking number, to ship it right away. He wrote he would. Well three weeks later we never got it and after 6 demands for proof that he'd actually shipped it (even Paypal demanded it finally) and he never supplied it, Paypal FINALLY gave me a refund. Then the bastard had the never to file a "strike" that I'd never paid for it! (I had the Paypal confirmation number IN THE Dispute documentation!) What nerve this fraud had!

    It was easier finding teeth in a hens mouth trying to get eBay to do ANYTHING! Did they penalize this fraudulent seller? Hell no. At least Paypal lists phone numbers and will talk to you; eBay hides everything for contacting them LIVE!

    eBay sucks. And oh yeah I ripped the Seller a new asshole in his negative Feedback .... just try to sue me!

  29. johan corey
    Thumb Down

    Feedback loop

    Unfortunately the ebay feedback system is too biased to be useful to any individual trader - by the time eBay tarders like this can even have a hint that they have poor trading practices its too late - their business /is/ fuct...

    the eBay tarder is dead, long live the eBay tarder...

  30. Jacob Lipman

    Libel... Not so much.

    In the US, three things must be true for a statement to be considered libel/slander.

    The statement must be false.

    The person making the statement must know that it is false.

    The person making the statement must have malicious intent.

    Open and shut case. It isn't libel. Whether or not the seller files suit, the buyer should consider suing for mail fraud and/or false advertising. I wouldn't think it was warranted if the seller wasn't such an overbearing prick, but, in my humble opinion (quick, take note that I believe this to be true) the seller is, indeed, an overbearing prick.

    He is complaining that his business will suffer because of the negative feedback. Is he too stupid to realize that this is the point of negative feedback? If you fuck a buyer, that buyer can warn others so that they are not also fucked. Feh.

  31. Dale Morgan

    What a moron

    Read is a moron, he got the the exact phone he was bidding on, i hope he looses in court.

  32. alex d

    from the front lines

    Thank god for the new feedback rules. A few months ago, the buyer would've just gotten negged too, for telling the truth. Happened to me, fn asshole sellers.

    Of course, the whole feedback system is shot. Everyone always gives +1 unicorns and rainbows. You get one negative feedback and it's a huge deal. There's no flexibility in the system. Then sellers expect that if they sell you the wrong thing but make it up for it afterwards, they don't deserve the atomic bomb that is a -1.

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  34. Cris Page
    Flame

    negative vibes

    The buyer had a pretty negative experience, so that should be marked by negative feedback. When I look at an item on Ebay I expect to see an accurate description so that I can make an informed decision about it, not only IF I am going to bid on the particular item because it is the item I want, but also what I consider the item to be worth to me in the condition warrented by the seller. To mislead in this area just wastes the buyers time and/or postal costs, and IMHO the seller deserves a neg listing to warn others that his listings may not be wholly accurate.

    Given the neg.neutral listinge he has already attracted, the best thing he can do is go sit in a quiet room and figure out why so many of his buyers feel that he has been less than great to trade with. I too hope the case gets slung and costs are awarded to the defendant, small claims courts are not stupid, and the law is very clear. If this guy thinks he can "pretty up" descriptions of well worn goods, he faces a lot more negativitity around his username.

  35. Doug Glass
    Go

    One More Reason

    One more reason I avoid, at all costs, the boys of eBay. Caveat Emptor.

  36. Mark

    Positive?

    So he sends an item different to that advertised, in a condition not as stated, then, after fulfilling his obligations to refund the money, expects positive feedback - having wasted the punters time. If there's a growing malaise with british businesses of all sizes these days, it's that clearing up after your own slipshod work qualifies as customer service worthy of praise. Try providing a decent service in the first place before whining when someone has the temerity to moan.

  37. Duncan McGregor

    ha!

    This guy has a tonne of bad comments both in his negatives, neutrals and even there in the positives. i hope he does try and sue and any decent solicitor will take him to the cleaners with just his awful phone selling record and poor service.

    By doing this hes brought more attention to his shabby 2nd hand mobile phone business than anything else, and will probably go under.

    Try providing a decent service and good phones rather than lying about them and sending them out slowly with no communication.

  38. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Down

    Sick of scum on all ends

    There are a lot of honest businesspeople on eBay that do their best to sell quality merchandise and take great care not to make false promises. These are actually the majority, believe.

    Yet there are scumbags on all ends. There are buyers who will complain about a used item being in used condition, even complaining about marks and dents that were both described and pictured in the auction. Then there are sellers who will write their stuff up into the clouds without a hint of irony —maybe some "quality" handcrafted item— and what you receive looks like it was put together from junk by a talentless 4-year-old. If you are gracious enough not to demand your money back from such a seller since it's not really worth the trouble but cannot help giving negative feedback due to them also taking *weeks* to send you said turd for a fifth of what you paid in shipping cost while never responding to your inquiries, they will send you angry curses via mail — or what, take you to court? Hello?

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. elf25s
    Coat

    i wonder...

    i just want to know where these idiots come from? is it something in the water or air?

    clearly the seller is in the wrong. item was not as advertised it was scratched and chipped right?

    buyer returns it asks for refund and gets it and leaves negative feedback.

    that is perfectly normal even in real time retail. as in you get something wrong or broken you return it get money back or exchange if you feel mean or oranary exchange few unpleasant words and that is that.

    and the seller gets huffy over negative feedback over wrong item?

    geez can some one please beat his head into a wall or something? or better yet his parents for not teaching this twit any better

  41. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    eTatbay

    You pays your money

    You takes your chances....

    I wouldn't touch the great tat bazaar if it was the only shop in the world.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE: not the right model??

    Actually there is a freaking huge difference; since vodafone have a tendency to dick around with the phone.

    For example (this is not exhaustive, just a sample of what I've seen on their phones when compared to the factory stock supply)

    -- Almost all supplier-created AND certified software is removed so that Vodafone can charge you for the privilege of having software that's free anyway.

    -- All games are removed. You must pay, infidel, via Vodafone Live! for games; and NO you cannot browse easily to the manufacturer's site via the phone to get them for free.

    -- Typically removes and replaces quicklink shortcuts (just try using a Vodafone SE 850i for example). They are often replaced with stupid choices - like on touch-screen phones, access to vodafone live is where your cheek brushes it constantly. After a 4 minute call, you rack up an additional charge from the Live! malarky.

    Resetting the software is typically expensive, and sometimes can destroy the phone, depending on the crap vodafone have installed to protect their "asset" that you paid for.

    Besides which, I don't care if he gave the buyer a better model - it was a lesser model than advertised, moreover it arrived abused and worn. One out of three makes him silly for grumbling, all three? I don't think I have the discipline needed to leave a politely-phrased negative comment.

    I'd want blood.

  43. davenewman
    Stop

    Report to trading standards, so the seller faces criminal prosecution

    A lot of the posters here, as well as the seller, seem to be completely ignorant of consumer law. The thing the buyer should do now is report the seller to the Trading Standards office of the town where the seller does business.

    There are legal statutes and case law that define how good a description has to be. If the seller has broken the Trades Description Act, then giving a refund is not enough. The refund only covers the legal right to return goods received in unsatisfactory condition, under the Sale of Goods Act, for a full refund (including expenses such as postage).

    If at any point the seller has lied about the goods or conditions, then the trading standards people or the police can look at the possibility of charging him with fraud. But that would normally only be persued when someone takes the money, but sends no goods.

    The law is what the law says, not eBay, nor what commenters think.

  44. Mick F
    Thumb Down

    tw@t

    I hope Jones looses this, just reading his feedback should be enough to know that you are not always going to get what is advertised. Saying it is a business - I hope he is paying his taxes because sticking your head about the turret will get it shot off by the taxman.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Typical pBay cr@p

    I used to buy things on qBay - but Sears Robot trashlet cured me of it. Bought a couple of tools from them and after the 3rd or 4th time - one of them came broken. It took forever for them to acknowledge this - and accept a return of the item. I left negative feedback (note that I had left positive feedback for all of the other items). From there on out I was blocked from bidding on the items at the Sears trashlet. This was their way of dealing with bad results - blame the customer. (I even complained to dBay and Sears (Central corp) that this was unfair. Both blew me off. Funny thing - I used to spend a lot at Sears - and through pBay - but no longer go to either place unless I absolutely have to. (I don't buy things from their subsidiaries either.) May they both go bankrupt.

    Even Paris know how to handle things better. She also probably gives more of a $#!t about others then fBay and the trash compactors that sell stuff there.

  46. ben edwards

    Libel?

    It's only libel if the claims are incorrect, and seeing as 580+ feedbacks with 98% positive...this wouldn't be the only complaint the seller has recieved. Grounds for libel? Hardly.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Negative feeback ?????

    Wow the sellers complaint of receiving negative feedback and potentially taking down is business is a laff-riot. The negative feedback his aggrieved customer gave him is NOTHING compared to the bucketloads of shit feedback the crosslinking and postbacks this article has just done his business.

    And for what it's worth with the profile he had BEFORE Mr Read bought anything I wouldn't have gone within 100 paces of the bugger.

    Here's hoping he does go to the wall on the back of this spurious litigation...

    Paris...cos she knows how to take feedback, negative or not

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    intresting

    lets just spread the word for everyone to stay clear of this guy, then he'll never get back feedback again.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Noooo Dont sue for libel.....

    because it is total waste of time. Seriously, I sued someone for libel and lived to regret it. It took 3 years and in the end he counter sued ,the case was transferred far away up North and was a disaster for both.

    Courts are SERIOUSLY bad for your health. If you have a problem with persistent posters of

    libelous material and you have warned them (or they should realise) it is causing you alarm or distress, then issue a summons in a Magistrates Court (You can do yourself) and allege CRIMINAL harassment under PFHA 1997.

    That is just my advice, dont rely on it soley.

  50. Gareth Jones

    @Kanhef

    So where did you get the idea that the truth can't be libelous? Are you thinking of malcious falsehood? That is a different matter altogether.

    When making a claim for libel in English law there has never been a requirement to prove that the published words are untrue. In a nutshell you must prove that the words are defamatory, that they would be understood to refer specifically to you and that they have in some way been published to a third party. Obviously that the words were published and refer specifically to Jones are beyond dispute. So the only thing to contest is whether or not the words are defamatory. There is no specific definition in law of what defamatory, which is why lawyers make so much money.

    Whether the words are defamatory could broadly be measured by the question: Do the words lower the claimant in the eyes of society in general? In this case with specific reference to the claimant's business. I think the answer would be yes.

    However, libel actions can be defended on the grounds of justification, fair comment and/or privilege. In this case you would be looking at a defense of justification or one of fair comment. The very fact that the claimant gave a refund ought be enough to prove that the words are justified. However if the claimant has never actually accepted in writing that the phone was not as described then he could claim that the refund was a goodwill gesture, at which point it would be up to the defendant to prove that his feedback was justified or fair comment. In which case I think the defendant would need to prove that the claimant had not disputed the detail of the defendants claim for a refund. Had the claimant disputed the fact that the phone was not as described, but had offered a refund anyway then the libel will be harder to defend.

    Many people make the assumption that the defendant does not have to prove anything. This is true in a criminal case where the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. However, in a libel case the onus lies with the defence to prove that their words are justified or fair comment or they have the privilege to make those comments.

  51. kissingthecarpet

    @AlexD - good point

    Its true - the feedback system is shot. It seems that either you're perfect or rubbish. Also there are other issues to deal with, for example, obviously if you sell lots of low-value items you stand more chance of negative feedback just from random idiots, than someone who sells, say, a few luxury goods . Perhaps some feedback normalised on a "per pound" basis would help.

    It seems that it takes *far more* thought to be put into designing feedback schemes that actually work, than web designers believe it does.

  52. Andy

    UK Libel Law

    ... is a *lot* more complicated than US libel law. (I believe the word "minefield" works quite nicely. Possibly "insane".)

    It i *not* enough that the alleged libel is true. If he has suffered loss of business then he might well have a case. The best defense might well be that he wasn't the only one to give negative feedback.

    IA, obviously, NAL, so I could have entirely the wrong end of a completely different stick. But I do know for sure that UK libel law is very, very odd.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Duncan McGregor

    "ny decent solicitor will take him to the cleaners"

    As I understand it the claim has been made in the small claims court. Legal costs are not awarded in the small claims court so solitors are seldom if ever used. If the defendant chooses to employ a solicitor in a small claims court then he will lose even if he wins. He will be left with solicitors fees to pay.

    In this respect small claims are both a good and bad thing. Good because defendants are not scared into complying by the thought of huge legal fees. Bad because the almost negligable cost of bringing a case all but encourages speculative cases such as this one.

    Speculative? Think about it. If the defendant complies with the claimant's wishes and withdraws his feedback then the claimant wins without going to court. If the claimant wins in court then the feedback is withdrawn and he makes some money into the bargain. If however, he loses his claim in court he is left shelling out only minimal costs.

    I know the idea behind the small claims court is supposed to be to encourage the little guy to bring a claim without the fear of massive costs. But it also works the other way in encouraging arguably frivolous cases.

    By the way, why is everybody treating this as if it were the first time legal action has been threatened over negative feedback on ebay?

  54. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    98.7% sounds good but is not

    Most people leave positive feedback where really the transaction should be neutral. If you get what you expect then that's neutral. If you get better than you expect then that's positive and if you get worse than you expect then that's negative. Their should be no shame in the occasional negative, things go wrong and people are expressing their disapointment that they did not get what they wanted.

    Ebays insistance that buyers give positive feedback or else PayPal won't pay the seller is a corrupting factor. They sell this idea to the buyers as "protection". The relentlessly positive nature of ebay is very american 'have a nice day' {cunt}. Ebay having built a huge exclusive market for themselves using the efforts of their members are now squeezing that market. Their recent policys are becoming increasingly unpopular and buyer centric but they know it remains the best place to sell.

    Sellers really do feel the squeeze from ebay and will do anything for positive feedback. I experienced a seller who's performance on our transaction was poor, so I gave him neutral. As had other buyers. He pressurized a couple of them into changing it to positive feedback but I stuck with neutral.

    I think it's up to us to strt using alternative online selling and buying if we don't like how ebay operates.

  55. zxcvbnm

    Uk feedback page lets you click on feedback

    Why not link to the uk feedback page where you can click on the bad feedback and see it all instantly? It is a uk seller after all. Don't know why america does not get this feature.

    http://feedback.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&userid=onsalexuk

    Its good that the buyer got a refund but I suspect it did not include postage both ways? He deserved at least neutral feedback for the hassle he put the buyer though. You bid to get the goods as described in a timely manner.

  56. Kenny Swan
    Thumb Down

    Idiot

    All this fool has done is make sure anyone who takes even a passing interest in the Internet will avoid him like crabs. I would expect him to find things a little harder to shift on eBay now. OR...find things selling more but being sold to people with the sole intention of making life difficult for him afterwards or intending to scam him.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Buyer Beware

    I thought everyone knew you can't trust anything written in 'Comic Sans' :-)

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    They're both cocks

    The seller is a cock - I could understand if he was trying frantically to protect a 100% rep, but he already has 8 other negs. And did he bother to use the mutual withdrawal service?

    The buyer is also a cock - was he so hideously aggrieved by this that a -ve was absolutely necessary? It's a second hand phone FFS. Sounds like a stitch up somewhere, but considering he actually got his money back, at worst he should have left a neutral.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    evilbay, fleabay

    and that's why ebay sucks.

    I wonder if the tax man is going to examine his books if it's such a successful business?

  60. Ian O'Friel
    Paris Hilton

    Does this mean....

    That I can sue the guy / girl who outbid me 0.0000000001 nanoseconds before the auction ended ?

    Seems like people could easily start adopting the 'if in doubt, sue' approach america has created over the past few years "I'm suing McD's, yes I'm obese, but they sold me the 20 cheeseburgers, but gave me a normal coke instead of diet"

    Get a grip people.

    P.S - Please don't sue me for posting this comment, it could be construed as negative, it's all the reg's fault, they made me say it all.

    P.P.S - Paris ?! Why not...

  61. Elmer Phud

    "Look, I said 'Ha Ha!" '

    Just like when Bart misses the pool when diving out of a tree and is injured. Nelson (the voice of the people) looks so crestfallen when the utters his usual comment but everyone still shuns him unable to understand their reaction.

    This time it's "Yeah, O.K. It was a crap phone but I offered a refund once I was found out" I can't believe you guys still hate me".

    Just saying 'Sorry' doesn't work. Don't run to teacher if it's you like wot started it.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope he sues

    I have now seen soo many complete morons trying to threaten court proceedings I really hope the idiot tries it.

    I just bankrupted an idiot like that - he lost with costs against him and refused to pay. Nice. Next..

  63. Steve Liddle
    Thumb Down

    Nice of the seller to let everyone know what happens when you have problems with his goods :(

    Was looking at buying some stuff off ebay, actually from this seller, googled the seller after reading the negatives as you do and came up here. Need to thank the seller for making it so easy to avoid him, what if I had bought stuff off him and it was damaged, would I get sued as well ?

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Makes you wonder ..

    What an idiot! ... suing someone because you sent them a duff phone and they didn't like it .. jeez. Oh well, I hope Mr onsalexuk remembered to properly account for all those items, if I was the recipient of a case like that, I'd be straight on to the local VAT and tax offices ... you'd think with 544 items sold in the previous 12 months with an average value (based on the last few transactions of £7164.44 for 67 transactions) of around £107 .. why, you must be close to the VAT declaration limit ... ;)

    This seems topical :) ... http://xkcd.com/325/

  65. Sooty

    feedback

    currently the whole system is screwed up and meaningless, positive feedback should not be the default response to everything!

    A normal transaction should be neutral with anything special being positive. The current system buries anything special that the seller or buyer actually does in a mountain of A++++++++++++++++++++++ 's and neutral is considered a bad response

    at the moment i just ignore a feedback rating and read the actual comments provided. anything with a generic A+++etc goes in the neutral pile. as for negative feedback, it's presence alone won't put me off, i actually read it, if, like one seller i saw, they have quite a few for shipping the wrong item, or badly describing things i will give them a miss.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Dale Morgan

    No he didn't and there is one "o" in loses.

  67. Jack

    Why Neg rate after a refund...?

    To the people wondering why a buyer would post a negative rating when the buyer had gotten their money back, consider this.

    The seller misrepresented what he was selling and the condition that it was in. This dishonesty (or, to be charitable, possible incompetence) meant that the buyer was 1) Out the use of the money they paid for the item until the refund came though. 2) Was unable to get the *right* product, the one they actually wanted and thought they'd paid for during the time between ordering the item, returning it, and getting the refund. 3) Had to go to the trouble of packing up and shipping back the wrong item.

    If someone were to do that to me, then yes they could expect to get a negative rating. If someone is going to sell stuff, I expect them to accurately describe the condition of the item, and accurately describe what they're selling. If they can't be bothered to do that, then perhaps they shouldn't be selling at all.

  68. Alex Howells
    Joke

    Quote from "I start too many lawsuits" man -

    "ebay gives itself a bad name. forcing sellers to obtain court orders to remove feedback is riduculous. all publicity is good publicity, i'm now the worlds best known ebayer who are you? i'm in top ten in google, saving me £150 a week!! watch me make a million out of this."

    All I can say is LOL! :)

  69. Alexis Vallance
    Thumb Down

    No chance

    This idiot has no chance. He's got to demonstrate that the feedback was unjustified and as a result he has suffered real financial loss.

    He'll never get past the first hurdle and secondly what actual damage does he think it has caused his business? No judge is going to be impressed by him putting in a claim for £500 or £1,000 for such a thing.

    As a seller on ebay he has also consented that his customers are entitled to leave positive or negative comments in public as they see fit.

    Wouldn't be surprised if this was struck out.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    more shockingly...

    ... is that Webster posted without mentioning Apple-tards. Perhaps I should sue?

  71. Master Baker
    Paris Hilton

    Pair of dick splashes

    I lost a fair bit of ££ on Ebay buying from US sellers. I gave them a couple of months for shipping and when items didn't arrive I tried to follow-up through Ebay support but they didn't want to know. I won't use Ebay again. They're a bunch of c*nts, the lot of them.

    The seller sounds like a major dick splash. Sueing someone because you tried to sell them a crap phone in crap condition by listing selective truths? Fuck off you dick splash.

    The buyer sounds like a smaller dick splash, maybe a leaky ball sack. His fault for buying a piece of junk, but he is within his rights if said item wasn't advertised correctly.

    It's for cases like this that they should still allow duels.

    Paris, cause she's a bucket.

  72. Paul Murphy
    Paris Hilton

    Buy from me I MAY not sue you for it.

    Great advertising for a 'struggling' business.

    It's a shame that the idea for ebay is a good one - why do people insist on making things difficult.

    Sellers should actually sell what they advertise, and make efforts to describe their goods properly. They should post feedback on the buying side of things and not use their feedback as a threat. The lazy seller should get what they deserve.

    Buyers should pay for won items promptly and post feedback reflecting the transaction.

    Ebay themselves have turned a simple interface into a nightmare to find what you want, and their policies don't help anyone.

    Time to find another auction site I think.

    ttfn

    PH - I don't suppose she'll be on ebay anytime soon.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the Seller paying Tax?

    Even better, now that the seller has raised his head and pointed out to the world that he is selling items on ebay as his "business", I take it he is now liable for corporation tax and there shall be a Taxman at his door asking for him to cough up he funds?

    What a dick!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: UK Libel Law

    "But I do know for sure that UK libel law is very, very odd."

    Which is why the UK is apparently the venue of choice for libel cases: I believe the phenomenon is known as venue shopping, in fact.

    As for the "buyer is a cock" idiocy mentioned a few times in various comments, if you've had your time blatantly wasted, pointing out the potential for further time-wastage does not make you a cock. In fact, the "wey hey! caveat emptor!" attitude (where the buyer wouldn't be able to "beware" without such negative feedback) is the hallmark of a real cock. Along with whining about one's tat-peddling business (car boot sales not exciting enough any more?) and bringing on the Streisand Effect.

  75. Paul Bottomley
    Unhappy

    Bigger picture

    How this seller's attempt at recourse with the buyer will work, god knows, this seller has now, in theory attracted every idiot with too much testosterone, to bid on his items and screw his business right up. (Watch this space)

    But it's more than just this one seller. I for one feel a little sorry for some sellers, I know that eBay has become the online auction market leader, its enabled lots of people to make a living from selling online, and now 1000's of people are reliant upon eBay for their living.

    But eBay have now turned the screws and now punish sellers. Sellers are given unfair terms of trade, with increased fees, no recourse to complain about buyers and limited payment facilities (Paypal). This is a monopolistic tie in that is going and has ruined many people lives. The very lives upon which eBay was built.

    Its time eBay changed its tactic and become the auction site that did the right thing, set itself a goal for the end of the year, a modest income, and used the rest to improve the experience. Stop the hiding of bidder's names, Stop the no negative feedback from sellers, and allow other forms of payment.

    None of this will happen however. We all just plod along, blindly laughing at the odd seller or bidder that tries to make a noise, when all along it eBay is laughing loudest at us, whilst drinking bubbly bought with our money.

  76. Gareth Jones

    @Alexis Vallance

    "He's got to demonstrate that the feedback was unjustified and as a result he has suffered real financial loss."

    WRONG!

    In English libel law the claimand must prove that the words were (a) defamatory, (b) refer to you or your business and (c) published. I don't think there will be any problem with (a), (b) or (c).

    It is then up to the defendant to defend the libel. Essentially there are three defences (a) Justification, (b) fair comment and (c) privilege. Obviously (c) doesn't enter into it. (b) generally applies to comment, such as a newspaper review. So that leaves us with (a) it is not enough that the words were true, you must be able to justify publishing them. I suspect that argument over a defence of justification would centre around the fact that a refund was given, whether the words are true and the phone was substantially not as described would be secondary to this.

    The most interesting part of this story is that the media and most of the posters on here are making the assumption that the buyer is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. When it comes to the damage to the phone we only have his word. We only have his word that that the seller accepted that there was any problem with the phone. If the refund was issued without the seller accepting that the phone was anything other than as described then the buyer has little proof that his words were justified.

  77. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Is it a scam?

    Is it a scam, the guy's eBay account is getting lots of attention now, seems very fishy to me that no one has tried this before. The seller and buyer are in cahoots to they can both get some publicity!

  78. Simon B
    Flame

    offer 1 thing, send another, but i'm good cus i give a refund guv! pmsl

    "If you don't like the goods then you get a full refund," Jones said, defending his actions.

    "Surely that is great customer service and deserves positive feedback."

    Yeah, I'll sell you a brand new red porcshe, and deliver a 20 year old green ford escort that is falling to bits. Hey I'm a good seller because even though I mis sold to you, you did "get a full refund".

    Let it go to court and have the muppet laughed out of court and fined for wasting courts time too!

  79. Alex
    Coat

    "left ear didn't work"

    Classic! Someone bought a pair of ears, and one didn't work!

    Mine's the one with the Janus Body Parts catalogue in the pocket.

  80. michael

    "Justification"

    "It is then up to the defendant to defend the libel. Essentially there are three defences (a) Justification, (b) fair comment and (c) privilege. Obviously (c) doesn't enter into it. (b) generally applies to comment, such as a newspaper review. So that leaves us with (a) it is not enough that the words were true, you must be able to justify publishing them. I suspect that argument over a defence of justification would centre around the fact that a refund was given, whether the words are true and the phone was substantially not as described would be secondary to this"

    BIG IANAL

    but shuley the fact that ebay asks for comments and he comented on his expraince with this person would be the Justification for posting it? that is assuming that his expreance is true

  81. Steve

    Return postage cost - reimbursed?

    The suit on the basis on libel is laughable.

    The definition of what one calls ‘good’ when applied to ‘chips and scratches’ is subjective, but the feedback left isn’t false.

    A buyer spending that much on a phone really should check the description carefully. If the photo doesn’t match the text then the buyer must confirm it with the seller. I’ve no sympathy for this buyer, even though the mistake is with the seller!

    However, looking at the T&Cs of the auction page, it seems the buyer would have had to part with the cost of return postage and would not by reimbursed for it, so if … IF … the unit really wasn't as described then the buyer will automatically lose out due wholly to the error of the seller - that deserves -fb!

    The seller is better off pursuing a different route of dispute.

  82. Mark

    re: Huh?

    If you bought a Sony CD player off me and got a Phillips one, it still plays CD's so what are you worried about?

    Oh, you have a multi-remote with your amp that is a Sony amp and knows that model of CD player so you don't have to have 5 remotes to control your

    DVD

    CD

    Amp

    TV

    VHS Recorder

    because they're all Sony.

  83. Name
    Jobs Horns

    Just BAD

    So Is suing your customers also "Good Customer Service" ???? WTF !!! If you don't like negative feedback on eBay, then you shouldn't be using eBay. This could also set a dangerous precident "forcing" everyone to give good feedback, or risk being sued; even if that person's goods are damaged, or the seller is a scam artist. eBay should alter it's Terms of Agreement to basically say that if you use their service, you can't sue people for Negative Feedback, etc.

    I bet this guy looks like your Evil Steve Jobs avatar.

  84. Sam Tana
    Thumb Down

    Not for sale...

    The seller with an eBay "business" has a grand total of ZERO items for sale as I type - so either he's blowing hot air or this incident has indeed sunk his business. I suspect the former.

  85. Glenn Charles
    Jobs Horns

    onsaleuk

    With nothing currently posted as offerings. Sounds like eBay is a place to avoid. I forgot. I have been. Since its inception.

    --Glenn

  86. scott
    Stop

    At least the seller *can* sue...

    Right - can the "sellers are disadvantaged" muppets please explain to me how it would even have been possible for a buyer to sue a seller for *anything*??

    I tried - and failed.

    eBay and PayPal refused to give me the name and address of a seller who hadn't delivered my goods after 3 months, refused to give me a refund and refused every attempt at contact. All I wanted was the seller's details so I - the one who had forked out money and had no goods - could raise a Small Claims Court action through the English courts (where the buyer resided).

    The seller always has the full contact details of the buyer. The buyer has to rely of eBay and Paypal if there's a problem. I fell victim to their 45/60 day "hand washing" cutoff. I'd tried to be patient with the seller - and then I discovered how shit eBay and Paypal really are at the point where it was "too late". Eh? Sending something even within Western Europe can take 1 month if something goes wrong with the post - add a few days for investigation either side, and voila - you're over the 45 day cutoff.

    I threatened eBay and Paypal with criminal action, they hid behind the fact that the transactions actually happen in Luxembourg. It took me about 3 weeks even to get that out of the fuckers. All throughout they kept saying "it's against our policy to hand out seller's details" and "keep communicating with seller to try and reach an amicable settlement".

    Err...how exactly *do* you reach a settlement with a party who refuse to acknowledge your ebay/emails, and when ebay/email is the only means of communication?

    After 4 months, and completely by surprise, I eventually got my goods. However, as the transaction was long "closed", I couldn't even *leave* a negative feedback. I probably wasted about 30 hours of my life chasing the seller, eBay and PayPal.

    So - dear eBay sellers - whilst you might think you're hard done by, at least you *can* sue the buyer.

  87. kain preacher Silver badge

    i've come to an conclusion

    Pay pal must work differently here in the states. Maybe its cause the are headquarter here and figure its easier to get sued . If pay pal screw me over I could just walk down to their head quarters and serve them. Most of the horror stories I've heard are out of the US. Dont get me wrong I've heard lots of horror stories about paypal in the States, just seems lately the stories seem to becoming over seas.

  88. DR

    ebay is a tat bazzar

    All these people who say, if the transaction was smooth, if the package arrives in a couple of days, if the item is well packaged. well that's just what you expect...

    ummm, no, it's not, IF I win an auction for a second hand piece of tat.

    then I'd like it to be intact when it gets to me, this could happen by just popping it into the post box wrapped in brown paper, so IF, it's wrapped up in a box and brown paper, that's well packaged and a positive thing.

    I expect a bit of tat to arrive when the seller posts it, (assuming that they'll post within a week). if it's posted the day after I win it, that's positive.

    If I ask a question and the seller responds immediatly, then that's a positive, (hell you can get better customer service from teenagers selling an old games console than you can get from a large multinational on-line retailer with an entire customer service department.

    bascially, IF the item arrives as expected, that's a positive. you are at a blind online car boot sale after all.

    if it's damaged but you get a full refund straight away, and the seller (instead of saying please return for testing before refund, says, if it's broken then throw it away and I'll refund your money no questions asked). that's a positive experiance.

    if the seller requests that it's sent back to them and takes two weeks to give you your money back, well that's the same kind of service that you could expect from dabs (for example).

    I'd say that was neutral.

    anything less than what's outlined above is a negative.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    buyer needs to edit his comment with...

    ... and then threatened me with protracted legal action for leaving honest but non-positive feedback. Okay so he did refund me but that is not the point, I didn't get the goods that I was promised and my feedback stands.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Publicity Stunt?

    Hardly. It was the buyer who went to the press with the story, not the seller. How weird is that?

    Pop Quiz:

    You receive court papers informing you that you are being sued for libel over some ebay feedback and your first point of contact is:

    a) The court?

    b) The claimant?

    c) A solictor?

    d) Ebay?

    e) The Daily Torygraph?

  91. Inachu
    Alien

    I like this!

    When I buy a pc I expect the same color,same model as being advertised.

    You try any of that BAIT AND SWITCH with me and leave out the wire that go with it or the OEM INSTALL CD's missing then not only a bad review but also in some cases against the terms of Microsoft if you do not off the CD's that went along with the hardware.

    Yeah! Resellers violating Microsoft rules thus the resellers turn into software pirates!

    This is one reason why circuit city is slowly going under for not properly supporting customers who buy computers from them. Dishonest resellers.

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