An eBay seller has sued a dissatisfied customer for negative feedback despite the company’s attorney admitting the complaint was legitimate, TechDirt reported Tuesday.
According to the website, customer Amy Nicholls purchased a product from company Med Express, a medical equipment sales company conducting all its business through the popular auction site.
When the product arrived postage due, Nicholls became annoyed at the unexpected inconvenience and committed the cardinal sin of leaving negative feedback.
Med Express stated their regret at having inconvenienced Nicholls and admitted that the problem had happened multiple times. They then offered to reimburse Nicholls for the mistake but requested that she remove the negative feedback.
Since the reimbursement didn’t make up for the inconvenience, Nicholls decided to leave her feedback as-is. That’s when it got messy.
The Ohio-based company enlisted the services of local attorney James Amodio and decided to file a civil complaint, suing Nicholls for “defamation.”
Med Express also requested a temporary restraining order against eBay, demanding that the auction site block the review. (Because demanding things from eBay always works.)
The efforts failed in both cases, but a judge will allow a hearing for preliminary injunction.
Public Citizen Litigation Group representative Paul Levy, a former colleague of the customer, reached out to Amodio to request that he dismiss the case.
Levy told the website that Amodio “readily admitted that, as the complaint admits, everything that the customer had posted in her feedback was true,” adding that “he did not deny that a statement has to be false to be actionable as defamation; but he just plain didn’t care.”
Levy continued: “To the contrary, he told me that I could come up to Medina, Ohio, and argue whatever I might like, but that the case was going to continue unless the feedback was taken down or changed to positive.”
Levy also alleged that Amodio told him Med Express was insisting on the change because “it sells exclusively over eBay, where a sufficient level of negative feedback can increase the cost of such sales as well as possibly driving away customers.”
(TechDirt has the reproductions of court documents and Levy’s letter of request to Amodio posted on their site.)
Amodio has not spoken publicly about the case, but he probably should. Popehat recently put out “a call for lawyers and citizens to assist a litigant in standing up against unprincipled censorship.”
Americans distaste for frivolous lawsuits, and the fact that attorneys will probably be eager to take the case pro bono for the notoriety it could bring — and the softball victory — may have a backfire effect should Med Express decide to pursue it.
As for frivolous lawsuits in general, you may be surprised to find they’re not as common as you think. Check it here:
Then again, a spa was recently sued for six figures for not providing a complimentary breakfast, and just last year an Oregon mom tried suing Justin Bieber for permanent hearing damage at one of the Bieb’s concerts.
(Luckily, neither of them have gone anywhere.)
Do you think suing for negative feedback constitutes a frivolous lawsuit, or does Med Express have a point since they did make efforts to correct the issue?
[Image via ShutterStock]