eBay seller to sue after receiving negative feedback

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

A British eBay seller is to sue a customer for libel just because said customer left him negative feedback on the auction site.

Chris Read claims that he paid £155 ($253) for a Samsung F700 mobile phone but he claims that he received a F700V instead.   Not only that but he also says that the model he received was damaged.   So he sent the phone back to the seller Joel Jones.   Mr Jones says that he promptly refunded Mr Read and expected that to be the end of it.   But Mr Read then went on and left a negative feedback on eBay – and that’s when things turned ugly.

Mr Read says that it is his right as a customer to leave a feedback on his experience with Mr Read.   This is definately true.   He does have that right.   But Mr Jones says that that feedback is damaging his business and he would sue for libel unless the comment was deleted from eBay.  Read refused and the lawyers pounced.

I have been buying and selling on eBay since 2000 and I wrote an eBay column for 2 years, so I can say this with all certainty – Mr Jones’ lawsuit is going to backfire in his face big time.   First, Mr Read’s comment is not libellous or inflammatory – it is the truth and he has a right to say it.

Secondly, by suing, Mr Jones is only drawing more attention to the negative feedback and the disgruntled customer.   If he had kept quiet, that negative feedback would have got buried eventually and forgotten about.

Thirdly, Mr Jones is going to get a bad reputation via the media as the man who uses lawyers to strong-arm his customers into shutting up whenever there is dissatisfaction and dissent.  How will his sales be after the court case?   Any better?   I doubt it.

Via Times Online

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11 Responses to eBay seller to sue after receiving negative feedback

  1. Both involved come across as low-lifes, to be honest; a prompt refund should have been the end of it – leaving negative feedback after that is very bad form indeed.

    eBay's feedback policy really needs to be reviewed. I understand entirely why they don't want to get involved but while Mr Jones' actions now aren't going ot do him any favours (as you say), I'm not sure he did anything wrong before this.

    Perhaps when monies are refunded the facility to leave feedback should be removed.

  2. Both involved come across as low-lifes, to be honest; a prompt refund should have been the end of it – leaving negative feedback after that is very bad form indeed.

    eBay’s feedback policy really needs to be reviewed. I understand entirely why they don’t want to get involved but while Mr Jones’ actions now aren’t going ot do him any favours (as you say), I’m not sure he did anything wrong before this.

    Perhaps when monies are refunded the facility to leave feedback should be removed.

  3. I hope he wins.

    The guy got a full refund, no questions asked.

    It should have ended there.

    The negative votes are a stain that the seller can not remove and he will lose business because of it.

    IMHO

  4. I hope he wins.

    The guy got a full refund, no questions asked.

    It should have ended there.

    The negative votes are a stain that the seller can not remove and he will lose business because of it.

    IMHO

  5. I too hope he wins. The seller WILL lose business because of this feedback blemish. All of Ebay’s new feedback policies are skewed to protect the buyer and bring in new buyers, without concern for keeping their current clients–the sellers. A vindictive customer can undo years of hard work to establish feedback.

    I agree that when money is refunded, leaving negative feedback should no longer be an option.

  6. I too hope he wins. The seller WILL lose business because of this feedback blemish. All of Ebay's new feedback policies are skewed to protect the buyer and bring in new buyers, without concern for keeping their current clients–the sellers. A vindictive customer can undo years of hard work to establish feedback.

    I agree that when money is refunded, leaving negative feedback should no longer be an option.

  7. One of my buyers won a $15 item but did not want to pay sales tax (about $1) so we went back and forth with emails and finally the buyer agreed to mail me a proper tax exempt form. It never came, so the buyer left negative feedback, ruining my 100% perfect feedback, and apparerently left all zeroes for my DSRs, causing me to lose my 40% discount on ebay fees, which will cost me well over $100.

  8. One of my buyers won a $15 item but did not want to pay sales tax (about $1) so we went back and forth with emails and finally the buyer agreed to mail me a proper tax exempt form. It never came, so the buyer left negative feedback, ruining my 100% perfect feedback, and apparerently left all zeroes for my DSRs, causing me to lose my 40% discount on ebay fees, which will cost me well over $100.

  9. Ebay wants to protect all buyers,good and bad, and they don't care about sellers, good or bad. What they should be concentrating on is protecting good sellers and buyers against bad sellers and buyers.

  10. Ebay wants to protect all buyers,good and bad, and they don’t care about sellers, good or bad. What they should be concentrating on is protecting good sellers and buyers against bad sellers and buyers.

    • I too have been a victim of sellers negative feedback. I did nothing wrong. Buyer simply bid on listed item but asked for a different size immediately after purchase. I did not have the other size and suggested the buyer try the one they did in fact purchase, as it might fit. I received no further correspondence from buyer – just negative feedback stating that I had lied about sizing. I have spent the last 6 months trying to get ebay to remove the feedback. As far as I am concerned, publicly lying and defaming my service should not be allowed on ebay.