An eBay shopper may face libel charges after posting negative feedback about a seller on the auction site.
Chris Read, a 42-year-old mechanic from Kent, wasn't satisfied with the Samsung phone he purchased on eBay, reports the Daily Telegraph. For one thing, it wasn't the right phone. It was also described to be in "good" condition and arrived rather worse for wear, he claims.
He returned the phone to the seller, Joel Jones, 26, of Suffolk, and requested a refund. Read then posted negative feedback for him, writing the "item was scratched, chipped, and not the model advertised on Mr. Jone's eBay account."
Read did get a refund, but also received an email from Jones claiming the negative feedback was damaging his business. Jones threatened to sue unless the comment was removed.
"Obviously I was shocked," Read told the Daily Telegraph. "I replied saying I stood by my comment and would go to court if necessary."
Afterwards, Read received a pre-court letter demanding he agree the comment was unreasonable. Jones' letter warned that if it wasn't signed in seven days, he would be taken to court and face "substantial" legal fees.
Jones argues that sellers with negative feedback appear lower on the screen in auction searches than others. Jones sells electronics on eBay under the screen name "onsalexuk." His account currently has a 98.7 per cent positive rating with 587 customers offering feedback.
"If you don't like the goods then you get a full refund," Jones said, defending his actions. "Surely that is great customer service and deserves positive feedback."
He told the Daily Telegraph his business "could go under" because of the negative comment and is left with no option but to sue.
Read said he's prepared to fight the legal action. ®