Buyer Sues eBay For Alleged Online Slander

from the get-over-it dept

Okay, let’s try this one more time for the slow people… If you are providing an internet service that lets anyone comment on things, then those comments are the responsibility of the people who wrote them, and not the company providing the online site. Some guy is suing eBay for slander because someone gave him bad feedback over an auction. The guy who is suing is a lawyer (big surprise there) and has some odd things in the lawsuit. First, he’s suing both eBay and the guy who made the negative comments, though he’s asking for $2.5 million from eBay and only $100,000 from the guy. Next, he seems to claim that because he told eBay to remove the comments, and they refused, they somehow broke the law. But, his description of what law they broke is that they were “arrogant”. I had no idea that arrogance was illegal these days. Furthermore, in the lawsuit he says eBay should be forced to filter the following words from their feedback site: “fraud, liar, cheater, scam artist, con man.” Finally, in the most bizarre part of the lawsuit, he says that anyone selling anything on eBay should be required to register their screen names with the state of California as fictitious business names (a standard requirement for anyone acting as a business under a name other than their own), and that eBay be forced to collect state sales tax. What this has to do with the actual case is anybody’s guess.

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Comments on “Buyer Sues eBay For Alleged Online Slander”

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Al says:

No Subject Given

Ebay should, imo, do something about people leaving false negatives (if at all possible) It’s not uncommon for people who are rorting Ebay to leave false negatives just to pre-empt the negative they know they will receive (and then say any subsequent negative is “revenge”)

It’s a curious and sometimes mystifying system. In any case, their system of leaving negatives/positives doesn’t really work. Even honest sellers/buyers are often too scared to leave ANY negatives, because they know they are bound to get one in return.

buffs92 says:

I'm suing techdirt by love trux

It is not slander, but libel which is written defamation of character, I think. It is illegal to state false facts such as “seller had someone bid up this item so i am not paying for it”. I had that happen to me and had no recourse. The second place bidder was probably scared away by the feedback I received from the buyer and did not take me up on the second chance offer. I ended up relisting it, but got about $120 less than the original auction. They say it is a binding contract, but you can’t do anything to the bidder unless you go to their state and file a lawsuit.

Sakhu says:

Ebayer sues Ebay for alledge online slander

Yes well technically EBay has broken the law for not removing the liable’s statement on their site. Internet providers can be held liable, and owners of chat rooms, and boards, such as message boards and such can take the rap if they allow liablious statemsnts to appear on their site because once it’s published can be accessed from all over the world!

The EBayer who made the liabelous statement is at fault directly for making the statement, and publishing it on the EBay feedback. While free speach is protected in this country no person has the right to go beyond an opinion and make absolute charges such as “fraud, liar, cheater, scam artist, con man, which is a criminal matter.

Especially if that person is a lawyer and his reputation is at state as a lawyer for such an outburst of discriptives.

Everyone in this country is treated innocent until proven guitly in a court of law. In this case there was no trial to back up this EBayer’s statement. If the EBayer who is being sued by this lawyer picks up a case from the Web that shows the lawyer was convicted for fraud, then the statement made on EBay would be true and not liabelous. However, this is hardly ever the case now is it? No one can be a Judge, Jury, and executioner all in one. Therefore whoever stated such a thing stated it to a lawyer and, that lawyer believe me knows what he’s talking about!

Yes says:

Ebay is allowing Liable / Online Slander - Lawyer is Right

Ebay Will allow buyers to leave comments while a seller has no choice. Online slander / liable is becoming more and more a problem. Since Ebay is using DSRs, as search standing leverage it can also affect ones business. If a statement is allowed to be left online (posted so everyone can see it) and it indeed is False or Untrue Fact, then it is considered illegal as well. As soon as the opinion becomes more than just a harmless statement, ie. affecting business, like ebays search standings will become lower from bad feedback, and such – it definately is illegal. Ebays feedback has changed and they need to address this.

C C says:

Ebay is allowing Liable / Online Slander - Lawyer is Right

I am considering a similar action myself, after 4 years trading on Ebay and over a 1000 positive feedbacks and 100%, one of my staff mistakenly listed an item previously sold.
Promptly the item was refunded and a message immediately sent informing that the money was being refunded that minute, the auction was not ended one hour before the money was refunded and the apology sent to the customer, next day the customer put a vindictive comment and negative feedback.

My trading name on Ebay is the same as my Limited company name .

I now say this is slanderous and printed libel, and because as a web designer and software producer, I know this is forced on the search engines and each time anyone views my companies name online with this defamation and bright red negative feedback on the top of my list.

I say this is direct harassment also against criminal law, as I feel alarmed and distressed by this matter and it is not able to be ended, Ebay point blank refuse to remove the Negative feedback and derogative remarks, the customer is equally as abhorrent in their ignorance of my being upset.

Internet name systems Icann allows the issue of web names on the understanding you do not abuse them or harass people, slander or defame /libel them, I intend to contact them , I will also see what legal measures I can take for my company both in civil (Libel/Defamation) and criminal (!997 Harassment act).

I feel Ebay are becoming very biased in favour of buyers allowing them a free reign to abuse and harass.
This goes much further than freedom of speech and opinion, when it effects good standing of people and established reputable companies.

Michelle Gerson says:

your comment is incorrect.

Sorry. We are now in 2018, obviously your comment dates from the years where slander online was not in the news. You should be careful with your lightheaded opinion that it is not a company’s responsibility if their customers or members leave derogative comments on their site.
What do you have to say to the recent half a million pounds fine Facebook had to pay for not complying with the regulator and for allowing all sorts of manipulations of their accounts to take place.
Sorry to say, you are wrong, the solicitor is right. And Ebay, like any other online company, IS responsible for physically allowing the derogative comment to get through. The comment is not processed by the person who leaves the comment, it is processed by Ebay.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm suing techdirt

I would contact cfpb and report ebay and the buyers slanderous and illegal feedback. This feedback if seen by an employer could cost you your job and is technically a crime – maybe if enough people with this problem band together we could get a class action suit , but first we need the complaints and responses from ebay documented through the consumer financial protection bureau / CFPB 

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