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  1. #1
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    Man sued for libel after leaving 'negative feedback' on eBay

    A mechanic who bought a phone on eBay is being sued for libel after leaving negative feedback on the auction website.

    "The item was scratched, chipped and not the model advertised on the seller's eBay account."

    And now the poor mechanic has received an email threatening him with libel action.

    Do you think this case will go to court, knowing that receiving feedbacks (positive or not) is part of the service?

    Here's the whole story. click!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict Phidev's Avatar
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    Ha this is ridiculous. Next time I get negative feedback from one of my clients, or if they say that they dont like the anything about what I do, I am going to sue them.

    haha, Honestly I dont think this will go to court, unless indeed the phone was not scratched, nor chipped and it was the right model.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict Robert_2006's Avatar
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    This is just one more reaston to stay away from Ebay.

  4. #4
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    Misleading title on this thread, misleading headline on the original article. "Sued" is not the same thing as "received an e-mail threatening to sue." No one has been sued in this case. My money says no one will be sued.

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    I respect your opinion sonjay, but when I reviewed the article, I got this:

    'I am being punished on eBay because of this as sellers who have negative feedback appear lower down the screen in searches than other people. I'm losing money by the day and my business could go under because of it. I've been left with no option but to take legal action.'

    I think there's no misleading here... but thanks for the reply anyway.

  6. #6
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    But -- saying "take legal action" is not the equivalent of taking legal action. So far, to my knowledge, there's been no legal action taken. My money says there won't be any legal action taken.

    "Man threatened with lawsuit after leaving negative feedback on eBay" would have been a better headline for the article, and a better title for this thread. There's no "sued" -- there's only "threatened to sue." Lots of people threaten lawsuits all the time. Very few of those turn into actual lawsuits.

    But of course, that's not as attention-getting.

  7. #7
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    Interesting. But I don't think that nobody will sue anyone. Specially if the buyer was right and received a phone that wasn't the model expected, furthermore where was somehow damaged. It is not worth it, financially speaking, and the seller would even lose more clients because the publicity he will get will be negative. Unfortunately, everybody will remember that he possibly sent the wrong phone to a buyer.

  8. #8
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Did you all see the 'claim form' attached to the article or has that been added since you made your comments?

    The body of the article only mentions that a threatening letter has been sent, but the attached claim form seem to show that legal action has indeed already commenced.

    The 'claim form' shown does not look like the mere threatening letter mentioned in the article body - it looks to me like some sort of document from a court, setting out the nature of the claim and damages claimed, and the court fees. It looks like the sort of document you would expect to receive from a court of you sued somebody, court fees are listed as 175 GBP.

    I'm guessing maybe this, along with the word 'sued' in the headline, were added to the article at a date some time after the article was written.

    Under 'damages' on the claim form, it reads 'judgement required by ebay before they will remove negative feedback' under the 'value' part. Seems very frivolous to me. It seems a bit like the seller has received word from ebay that the negative feedback is not going away unless he filed a lawsuit, and so he thought to himself 'what the heck, I'll give it a shot' and filed the lawsuit.
    Last edited by mmj; Oct 26, 2008 at 09:24.
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  9. #9
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    Heard about this the other day. Personally i think it's ridiculous!

  10. #10
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    Surely he should be suing eBay for having that function in there in the first place? It's a stupid case anyway.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard spence_noodle's Avatar
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    I first read this in the newspaper and I think it's a load of BS. The seller will not win and if the seller does I'll eat my bug.
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  12. #12
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    I know about this. I read it from digg and it made me crack up. The guy actually shipped the wrong item to that person and so he wanted revenge.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Member Xyle101's Avatar
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    It is just only a Feedback! why would eBay sue a costumer because of leaving a bad feedback about them, they are just so sensitive.
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  14. #14
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyle101 View Post
    It is just only a Feedback! why would eBay sue a costumer because of leaving a bad feedback about them, they are just so sensitive.
    Ebay didn't sue, the seller sued. Ebay just refused to remove the negative comment as a matter of policy.
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  15. #15
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    that is ridiculous...he should turn it around and sue the person for slander
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  16. #16
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    This entire case could be categorized as vexatious litigation If the buyer made a valid complaint. If I was the seller, I would offered a full refund of the purchase price and shipping in return for the mutual removal of negative feedback. This would be much cheaper than litigating the issue. Notwithstanding, if the seller makes a living from eBay, and if the buyer left inaccurate feedback, then the seller has just cause for equitable relief. Even though it may have only been a $50 transaction, the negative feedback could cause multiple loss of sales, the number of which would not be readily determinable. Furthermore, even if the seller is able to sell everything he has listed, the sale price for each item could be lower due to some bidders being scared away.... less bidders = lower sale price.

    If this case was in the United States (Where I live) , the plaintiff would have the burden of proof with respect to demonstrating that the buyers response was in fact libelous; that is a statement of fact it was untrue. If the case was in Australia (where I'm from) or the United Kingdom, or Canada, it is my understanding that the defendant has the burden of proof as far as demonstrating the truth of the matter. Either way, truth is the ultimate defense regardless of jurisdiction. With some exceptions for invasion of privacy, and casting the truth in a false light. This is also called "spin".

  17. #17
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    If this is the case then the seller should have made sure the customer was getting a quality product as advertised. Of course this all depends on if the phone was indeed scratched etc.


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