|Sat June 21 2014 20:57:15|
Should There Be Legal Consequences to Negative Feedback on eBay?
By: Ina Steiner
Be careful when posting a negative review about a seller on eBay, warns Australian newspaper the Age, because sellers can sue buyers for defamation over negative feedback.
Suing trading partners isn't exactly new, but, the newspaper wrote, "lawyers predict the number of defamation cases involving online reviews and feedback will grow as people become increasingly aware of their online reputation."
Feedback and reviews can have a direct impact on businesses. On eBay, low feedback can cost sellers in a number of ways: they can lose discounts, their listings can be pushed down in search results, they can have more restrictive selling limits imposed on their accounts, and they could be suspended.
One eBay seller sued a buyer in 2010 in a much publicized case, but dropped the lawsuit after the buyer continued to fight it. That kind of negative publicity may be why eBay now offers a "money back guarantee" for transactions in which PayPal is used to pay for items.
The Age described a case in which an eBay seller (Achilles Archery & Outdoors) sued a West Australian buyer over a negative review on eBay and on forum posts. The case was dismissed on a procedural point last month. ("The eBay seller did not provide particulars of how he had been identified by the comments and the case was summarily dismissed.")
It isn't just eBay, however - what you say to social friends on Facebook and Twitter, or on review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, can also land the reviewer in hot legal water.
Are you careful about what you say online, and have you ever been tempted to bring someone to court for a negative feedback rating?
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