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Buyer on eBay gets sued by seller for leaving negative feedback regarding $1.44 postage fee

Posted By Enrique Manalang On April 19, 2013 @ 3:30 PM In World Wide Web | 26 Comments

ebay [1]

Be careful when you leave negative feedback on an eBay seller — it can get you sued.

Amy Nicholls, who purchased a microscope light from Med Express for $175, paid $12 for shipping. But then she found out that she also had to pay an extra $1.44 in postage due. This inconvenience led Nicholls to leave negative feedback on Med Express’s eBay.

Like many other eBay sellers, Med Express really values their rating and according to Ars Technica, they’ve only had one negative review compared to 142 positive reviews in the past six months. So the company asked her to remove the negative feedback, but Nicholls refused despite the company’s offer to refund $1.44 because because her complaint was made towards the inconvenience, not the amount that she had to pay. Which makes sense, if you think about it.

Things quickly escalated when Med Express decided to take action to remove the feedabck — by suing Amy Nicholls for the negative review she left on eBay.

Paul Levy of the Public Citizen’s litigation group, who is assisting Nicholls, wrote a letter addressed to James Amodio [2], who is representing Med Express in the lawsuit. In it, he describes the issue further:

The point she made in her message to you was that the problem wasn’t the money but the hassle… That opinion might be right, or it might be wrong, but harboring it and expressing it is not a tort. And it is certainly no reason to seek damages, attorney fees, and an injunction. Consumers might well take this sort of bullying into account when they are thinking about whether to do business with Med Express.

For all we know, the reason your client has so little negative feedback might be that it bullies critics by filing or threatening to file frivolous lawsuits every time negative feedback appears, thus inflating its seller rating.

Sounds like Mr. Levy’s got a point here. But on the other hand, there is the fact that negative feedback can hurt Med Express’ business.

What do you think of this issue? Discuss in the comments below! [3]

[via Ars Technica [4], image via Ryan Fanshaw [5]]


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ebay.jpg

[2] wrote a letter addressed to James Amodio: http://www.citizen.org/documents/LevytoAmodio.pdf

[3] Discuss in the comments below!: #comments

[4] Ars Technica: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/04/new-anti-speech-low-buyer-sued-over-negative-ebay-feedback/

[5] Ryan Fanshaw: http://www.flickr.com/photos/002/364082308/

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