Med Express Apologies For Suing Customer, Says It Was A Mistake, But Doesn't Mention The Long List Of Similar Lawsuits

from the what's-the-opposite-of-truthful? dept

Earlier this week, we posted about eBay seller “Med Express” suing a customer for leaving accurate, but negative, feedback on eBay. We found the story from Paul Levy’s original post on the Public Citizen website, and a bunch of other sites picked up on the story, including our friends at Popehat and Ars Technica.

Yesterday, Richard Radey, the President of Med Express made the rounds on all of those sites, including ours, issuing what may appear to be a heartfelt apology, saying that he never intended the customer to be a target, that the company fully supports any and all feedback, and that he had not read the actual lawsuit until the issue got attention. He also claims that he was trying to deal with a separate, but related issue in getting eBay to remove a “Detailed Seller Rating” which impacts how much Med Express has to pay. He claims that the “low ratings caused us to lose our Top Rated Seller Plus” standings, which could lead to “a potential fee increase of tends of thousands of dollars over the course of the year.” And, he claims, the only way to remove those “is by court order” and he “was told that such court orders were not uncommon.” He concludes:

The only person to blame here is me. You have spoken and I have listened. A terrible wrong needs to be righted. I am instructing our attorneys to drop the lawsuit. I want to assure everyone that you may feel free to leave any feedback on our company without fear of reprisal. I have learned my lesson.

That certainly sounds sincere. But is it? The first thing that struck me was that he said low ratings, plural — not the single low rating we had heard about. And, indeed, Paul Levy has presented a compelling argument that Radey’s apology raises more questions than it answers. First off, he discovered that Med Express has been filing similar lawsuits for years, all against customers who leave ratings that Med Express does not like. In one, quite incredible, case, they even sued a guy who left an accurate neutral review. Yes, it wasn’t even negative. And the company still sued.

Of the current crop of lawsuits, the suit against Nicholls isn’t even the worst.  I haven’t yet been able to see the original documents from the transaction on which Med Express’ lawsuit against Guam resident Tan Jan Chen is based, but the lawsuit against Scranton-area resident Dennis Rogan is over a two-word “neutral” buyer feedback stating “Order retracted.”   Apparently, Rogan bought a piece of equipment on eBay but Med Express had to refund his money because, as it explained in a message accompanying the PayPal refund, “This should not have been still listed—we removed this item a few weeks back-it broke.”   As in Nicholls’ case, the statement over which Med Express sued for libel was true, but even worse than in Nicholls’ case, Rogan had not even left “negative” feedback. 

Rogan could have suggested that the advertising and sale of an item that the seller knew it could not deliver violated FTC rules for mail-order merchants, but he gave the company the benefit of the doubt while concluding, at the same time, that other customers ought to learn that Med Express cannot always be trusted to have the goods that it is advertising.  His generosity did not prevent Radey from signing an affidavit averring that the neutral feedback and negative statement were “false,” attempting to get an injunction requiring that the feedback be taken down, and demanding an award of compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees—not the $1.00 in nominal damages that Radey claims are all that he wanted his lawyer to seek against Nicholls.

Yeah, also, that signing an affidavit thing is a problem. Radey suggests in his apology that he didn’t know what was going on, and seems to imply that this was a one off thing. But based on Levy’s research, we see a long list of similar lawsuits — and they include affidavits signed by Radey. So for him to claim he was unaware of what was going on seems quite questionable.

In the meantime, it appears that the customer who was at the center of the original lawsuit, Amy Nicholls, has found highly qualified pro bono help in the form of Tom Haren and Jeffrey Nye, and they’ve already filed a response and counterclaims. That also means that, even if Radey wants to dismiss this lawsuit, he can no longer do so unilaterally. If Nicholls, represented by Haren and Nye decide to pursue this, Radey may really regret trying to silence customers.

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Companies: ebay, med express

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Comments on “Med Express Apologies For Suing Customer, Says It Was A Mistake, But Doesn't Mention The Long List Of Similar Lawsuits”

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Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

Med Express: our apologies are as good as our products.

Buy today, and use our trusty Low Ratings (TM) as proof we’re here for you, not our bottom line.

Right. I’ve learned that apologies after the fact are just a poor excuse for doing something stupid in the first place.

Apology not accepted. Fix your ratings, left by disgruntled buyers, than worry about the internet.

Priorities, genius. Priorities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, of course. How have I not seen it? We don’t need to pick sides, because were all on the same side! The pirates really have copyright owners’ interests in mind. It’s so simple. They steal from the copyright owners because that benefits everybody. Obviously. Mike doesn’t need to pick sides, because he represents all sides.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

My lord, I was wrong all along! You’re right, the copyright owners lie and cheat to make up laws to benefit everyone, not to allow them to extort and terrorize decent people. Of course.

And that extortion and terrorism benefits the public and arts by allowing better media, instead of illegitimately lining the copyright maximalists’ pockets.

I have seen the light. Down with techdirt, yay to wrongdoing!

Anonymous Coward says:

let’s hope that the law suit goes forward and that all the previous, unwarranted law suits that Radey has signed affidavits on are brought out into the open, so he is exposed as what he is, basically, an arse hole! it could even get better than that, perhaps, and some of the other suits that are exposed then get joined? now that would be worth getting the pop-corn for!!

Atkray (profile) says:

Pro Tip for Richard Radey

Lawyers are not a part of your customer satisfaction team.

If you want good ratings provide good service.
If you want excellent ratings provide excellent service.

As shown in this case, most of your customers will be honest in their evaluations. When there is a problem step up and take care of it and they will praise you. Yes, there are some people who are never satisfied but they are easy to spot when reading reviews and savvy buyers see through them.

apauld (profile) says:

Re: Pro Tip for Richard Radey

It is unfortunate that your pro tip will be completely ignored by Mr. Radey. I posted on the popehat thread a comment that tried to directly point out how he could quickly and honestly raise his DSR’s, and he basically responded that everything is still everyone else’s fault. Richard Radey is clearly incompetent and unwilling to learn how to fix his actual problem; and his actual problem is that he is incompetent and unwilling to learn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Practices like this show clear consumer contempt, and demonstrate the reason nobody should ever trust ‘Testimonials’. The point of a rating and review system is to provide feedback to potential consumers as to various aspects of the product or service. Before the internet, this took the form of critic reviews, user testimonials, ratings, awards… in short… things that were largely either inflated/artificial by industry , at the distributors sole discression , or relatively obscure.

Now, people are able to take a direct role in holding companies, products and services accountable. The companies response? The same as always. Exercise as much control over their public image as they can. Now I can understand and even appreciate the need to carefully craft their public image, but that is limited to actions and statements from the company itself.

A person should not fear being sued because they said a company treated them poorly, or offered bad service, or whatever. A person shouldn’t even have to DEFEND themselves that right! The fact that an individual needs to hire an attourney, show up in court, face appeals, and quite likely sacrifice all hope of integrity just because they warned people of poor service they received is absurd!

The fact that TRUTHFUL negative reviews impacts your position on Ebay is NOT the consumers concern, nor responsibility. The fact that a company can resort to litigation as an alternative to improving customer service and relations is a bastardization of how the consumer/supplier relationship is supposed to work. Guess what, the whole point of salesmanship is making people want to buy something, not rubbing your hands in a sinister fashion because they don’t have a choice.

Geo says:

The whole thing is ridiculous. MedExpress is stupid, and Ms Nichols is just another eBay dork. Let me take it a little further in saying that ebay is stupid. No, the whole concept of eBay is stupid and ridiculous. 90% of what’s listed on eBay is garbage. Junk that nobody would have the guts to sell in front of their own house. Ebay/PayPal burn in hell. you were.

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