An eBay buyer who left negative feedback for a seller after receiving a broken $44 clock is facing a lawsuit for defamation by the seller.
The buyer Michael Steadman left negative feedback for the ebayer seller after receiving the item in three separate shipments. The buyer claims that the items he received related to three different models which weren’t compatible.
Under ebays buyer protection program, he filed a complaint and received his money back. He left the negative feedback to warn potential buyers. The comment read “bad seller. Ethics of a used car salesman“.
Ebay seller Elliott Miller, a Lawyer, issued a defamation claim against Steadman in a Miami Court claiming $15,000 for damaging his 100% feedback rating and damaging his commercial reputation in the eyes of potential buyers.
Although ebay have their own dispute forums and policies surrounding feedback disputes the case demonstrates that ebayer buyers are still able to bring defamation lawsuits against sellers through the court system. Sellers are no longer able to leave negative or neutral feedback which means that their reputations on ebay are vulnerable to abuse by buyers.
Ebay provide suggestions and tools for protecting a seller’s reputation to minimise such abuse to promote a fairer marketplace. The reality however is that eBay sellers are left vulnerable to negative feedback by unscrupulous buyers engaging in various forms of feedback extortion.