Seller sues customer over accurate eBay feedback

After a shipment purchased on eBay arrived postage due without warning, a buyer posted mildly negative feedback about the seller, an Ohio outfit calling itself Med Express (there are a number of suppliers with similar names). The seller offered to cover the charge, but also demanded that buyer Amy Nicholls take down the feedback, which she declined to do. Now it’s suing her, reports Paul Levy of Public Citizen, even though its lawyer appears to concede the feedback was accurate. [Mike Masnick, TechDirt] Ken at Popehat:

This is the ugly truth of the legal system: litigants and lawyers can manipulate it to impose huge expense on defendants no matter what the merits of their complaint. Censors can abuse the system to make true speech so expensive and risky that citizens will be silenced. Regrettably, Ohio does not have an anti-SLAPP statute, so Med Express and James Amodio can behave in this matter with relative impunity. If Ms. Nicholls has to incur ruinous legal expenses to vindicate her rights, the bad guys win, whatever the ultimate outcome of the case.

Update: Med Express apologizes and blames its overzealous lawyer. Sincerely? [Paul Alan Levy; Good Morning America].


  • Yup. Back in the 1990’s the parents of an attorney friend of mine were sued because a young boy had wandered onto the Long Island Railroad tracks (which ran behind their house and adjacent houses) and gotten burned on the third rail. Only flaw: the boy had gotten access to the tracks through a different person’s yard, nearly 1/8 of a mile away, and and sustained his injuries on the tracks behind that house. The parents were completely uninvolved in the accident; the police report did not mention them at all. The law firm (probably the biggest and most well known PI firm in Suffolk County at the time) refused to withdraw against the parents, even though they acknowledged that they had picked the wrong defendants. My friend was forced to do a motion, and the court refused to find the claim frivolous. Result for the parents? They got motion costs, a few hundred bucks. If they had not had a son who was a practicing attorney, it would have cost them about $1,000 for this result (more today, of course) .

  • From the ebay ebsite

    “Sellers can’t require buyers to leave specific Feedback or detailed seller ratings. Sellers also can’t demand that buyers revise existing Feedback or detailed seller ratings. This applies to all Feedback activity, whether it happened before, during or after delivery of items or services described in the original listing.

    Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don’t, you may be subject to a range of actions, including Feedback removal, limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.”

    The company may well have breached ebay rules.