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MDLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  Experience in business law, contract law and related matters.
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I would like to know if anyone has successfully gotten eBay

Customer Question

I would like to know if anyone has successfully gotten eBay to remove negative feedback and how they did it.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you this evening.

Are you asking about how to remove negative feedback through legal means or through Ebay's system? Can you please provide some background as to what information you are seeking and the facts behind this?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
... through legal means. eBay refuses to remove it because "it doesnt meet their criteria". I listed an item for sale and stated delivery dates. A customer buys the item, then wants to know when it will be delivered. I told him "as stated in the listing". He gets all worked up, sends rude emails, so I cancel the sale and refund his money immediately. He gets even madder and leaves untrue feedback, thereby injuring my reputation. Negative feedback on eBay is poisonous to a seller's credibility.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
What was the feedback that was left? What specifically was stated? Did you cancel the sale after the buyer paid or did he pay after you told him that you were cancelling the transaction? How many feedbacks do you have? How many negative feedbacks do you have?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
"This seller cancelled my order because we wanted to raise the price. Beware!"

He left feedback after I canceled his order and refunded his money in full.

I had 66 feedbacks with 100% positive rating; now with 98.4% positive.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
If you indeed did try to charge him more, then the feedback would be considered the truth (since you admit to cancelling the order) and you would lose a defamation case against him. The only way Ebay will remove a feedback that does not violate Ebay rules (and as an Ebay seller myself for over 10 years with several thousand feedback, I know Ebay rules pretty well) is if you have a court order. To get a court order, you would need to win your defamation case. That being said, yes, there have been people that have been successful in suing those who leave truly defamatory feedback but there are very few and there are a couple of reasons why this is so. The first reason is that most buyers and sellers don't live in the same state and the cost of travelling to a different state to sue over a feedback on Ebay doesn't make sense to most financially. The second reason is that it is very difficult to win a defamation case since many of the negative feedbacks left deal with the buyer's opinion. Even when someone is successful in winning their defamation case, the monetary judgment is usually nominal.

The above is the legal aspect of suing for defamation. As an Ebay seller, I will tell you this. Ebay allows you to not only reply to the negative feedback (i.e. if you did not raise the price, you can state that in your reply and potential buyers will see that) but Ebay also allows you to ask the bidder/winner to retract their negative feedback. If you only have 66 feedback, my guess is that you are a new Ebay seller. It was technically against the rules for you (and a breach of contract, legally) to cancel the transaction without a valid reason. Valid reasons would include, for example, if you find out that the buyer stole someone's account or is using false information. Your best bet is to try to smooth things over with the buyer and ask them to remove the feedback since it will cost you quite a bit to sue, even in small claims court.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. Thanks! Sorry that you had a bad experience with a buyer. Luckily, rude buyers are rare. I only get maybe 2 or 3 a year out of the hundreds of transactions that I do. More often than not, being nice turns them around!

MDLaw and 2 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I did not try to raise the price "on him". In my original listing, I stated "item ships for free on or before April 29/30". The day after he placed an order, he wrote me asking when I was going to ship his item. I replied that I would ship on 4/29 or 4/30 as stated in the ad. He then, essentially demanded that I ship it earlier, which was impossible. I've been selling on eBay for 20 years, just not with this account. I knew the guy was going to be trouble no matter what I did, so I refunded his money immediately, thinking, erroneously, that my move was a preemptive strike under the circumstances. The fact that I raised the price was because I was, and am, testing the market for this product. I've changed it twice since. The eBay CSR with whom I spoke agreed that I did everything I could to mitigate the situation and recommended to his "specialist" that the feedback be stricken. The "specialist" however, refused to do so, even though she agreed with the CSR.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How is it that Ebay can get away from liability by claiming that they are only the repository of negative feedback when they also claim to have the right to affirm it or remove it ?
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
Hi again.

What do you mean when you say that they have the right to affirm it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Maybe that's not the best assessment, but they essentially affirm negative feedback by refusing disaffirmation which they maintain the right/option to do so as sole arbiter regardless how egregious or inaccurate the comments are.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
Okay. As far as liability, what liability is it that you are claiming they are avoiding, exactly?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Never mind. Thanks
Expert:  MDLaw replied 4 years ago.
Ok :)