TexLawyer : Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.
TexLawyer : In his feedback, did he give a reason for the negative rating, or did he just give the rating without explanation?
Customer: Let me state his statement as is. Please give me a moment.
TexLawyer : Thank you. It is important because the specific wording is very important to a slander case. In order to be actionable, it must be a misstatement of FACT, not just a negative opinion.
Customer: This is his statement: "Seller shipped me a broken TV to get FedEx insurance money. Stay AWAY from him."
TexLawyer : OK. That would be an actionable statement, since it is essentially him accusing you of a crime.
Customer: I put several screenshots of good working TV on the product description. And everyone can see it.
Customer: Yes, I put the TV in the box with my wife with all accessories. FedEx accepted it. And I detailed him with all this.
Customer: The main reason of his such slander is his demand to send him another TV for the same price.
Customer: But when I said that I do not have another TV that made him mad and he went into attack.
TexLawyer : OK. That would certainly hurt his credibility in the eyes of a judge or jury.
Customer: So, am I allowed to sue him when hi is out of state?
TexLawyer : Well, to answer your question, you have the beginnings of a good defamation case. However, there are a few hurdles to overcome.
Customer: What is that?
TexLawyer : Yes, you can sue an out of state defendant since he did business with you in Illinois. Also, you always have the option of suing him in CA court.
Customer: I was thinking about small case..
Customer: I do not want to go to California. I need him to come to Illinois.
TexLawyer : There are two hurdles I can see. First off, your damages must be sufficient enough to warrant the expense of pursuing a lawsuit, keeping in mind that suing an out of state defendant is more expensive.
Customer: The damage is concrete loss of sale on Ebay because of his anbased slander and lie.
TexLawyer : Second, it is very possible that he doesn't have any money to pay a judgment in the first place. If you sued him in Illinois, he would probably not show up, which is obviously good for you since you would get a default judgment. However, you then have to execute on that judgment, which costs more money on your end.
Customer: I think he does have money since he paid $1000 for 65 inch LED tv. Not everyone is capable to do that.
TexLawyer : He well may, but it is just a consideration.
TexLawyer : Also, it depends on how much the potential judgment is for.
Customer: Also. if the court makes a decision in my favor can we demand Ebay to eliminate the fedback.
Customer: I want to sue him for up to $10000 that will be equivalent of my loss because of his action.
TexLawyer : Without involving Ebay in the lawsuit, no. However, if you have a judgment from a court that the statement was found to be untrue, Ebay may have a policy to remove the statement.
TexLawyer : If you can prove losses of $10,000, you certainly can sue him for that amount.
Customer: Does the fact that this sale is done under Ebay makes impossible to sue the buyer? What is your experience with Ebay or similar actions, if any?
TexLawyer : I've never had an experience suing an Ebay buyer, but that should not make it impossible to sue him. You will just have to get a subpoena from a court to get his subscriber information. That can be a tricky process, but if you hire a lawyer, they should know how to do that.
Customer: I know his name and address, I think it should be enough to fill the papers, is not it?
TexLawyer : Yes, that is all you would need. Once you have that, you don't need to involve Ebay (until you attempt to get the negative feedback removed).
Customer: I see, thanks
TexLawyer : Here is information on how to remove negative feedback on Ebay:
TexLawyer : http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/questions/remove.html
TexLawyer : http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/feedback-removal.html
Customer: Thanks again, I am aware of it. But it is more tricky that one may think. Ebay is reluctant to help, even though they have all evidences.
TexLawyer : OK. Just wanted to make sure you knew.
TexLawyer : Can I do anything else for you?
Customer: One thing that worries me in your advice. That is the possibility of the buyer not coming to court.
Customer: That more likely what may happen. And if the court makes judgment in my favor how should I get the damage from him?
TexLawyer : If he doesn't show up to court after being properly served with notice, you get a default judgment, which means you get everything you asked for. Like I said earlier, that means that you will then have to go collect through various legal means (lien on his home, levy his bank account, garnish wages, etc.).
Customer: In what court should I file the case: state or federal?
TexLawyer : State.
Customer: Thank you very much. That is all for now.
TexLawyer : Glad to help.
TexLawyer : If there isn't anything else I can do for you, please remember to "rate" my answer. Good luck.