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How to Get Any Piece of Negative Feedback Removed From Ebay

Discussion in 'Ebay' started by Crimebodge, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. Crimebodge

    Crimebodge Newbie

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    INTRO


    I run a UK website called Crimebodge that deals primarily with abuses of authority by the police. I deal with a lot of legal issues and for a while I was going to set up an alternative website assisting others with wider legal issues such as on-line harassment and internet libel.


    I wrote a few articles in advance, one of which was a method of getting Ebay to delete any piece of negative feedback, regardless of whether the feedback was true or not, by exploiting the existing libel laws. I thought it would be a shame to waste this advice so I am sharing it here instead.

    Unfortunately as I am posting for the first time I am not able to place up any links so I will do my best to describe where to locate them instead.


    I have used this method myself a number of times over the years when I was an active trader with Ebay and can attest for it's success 100%. I never failed to have a piece of negative feedback removed. It doesn't always matter if the buyer has posted defamatory or untrue remarks (although it helps). All that matters is that it can been seen to damage trading, something Ebay cannot disprove (and would be unwilling to attempt). To be honest, it can probably be used to have a negative removed that expresses nothing more than "Not happy with the seller."


    I have not used this method in about 8 months, but unless Ebay have changed their feedback policy lately or educated theiir feedback team on libel laws (which is unlikely) then I see no reason it won't work. So I post this howto with the best of intent (best of intent for Blackhat users obviously, not Ebay). Please don't flame me if for some reason Ebay are deciding to wilfully break the law and ignore genuine defamation claims.




    WORD OF WARNING


    This guide is written with regard to existing UK libel laws. I cannot attest for it's effectiveness in relation to the USA Ebay or any other national site. However, if your listings show up on the Ebay UK website then it's fair to say any negative feedback will too, so UK libel laws should still apply.


    UK libel laws have a 'serious harm' test applied to them. As they have been updated in the past few years there is very llittle case law as to what constitutes serious harm. Which is good news. Serious harm being relative, it's fair to say that if you are a small or medium sized trader, any drop in sales as a result of a negative feedback would fulfil the serious harm test.


    Another word of warning: Last time I used this method, Ebay removed the negative comment, but allowed a negative strike to remain. Prior to this they would remove both the feedback and the strike. This means you may end up with an empty field in your Ebay Feedback profile. In other words, a negative with no comment. It's up to you to decide if this is a good or bad thing. I was thinking of challenging Ebay on the existence of a negative strike in and of itself as being libellous, but I felt this was going to far. Besides which, what's to stop Ebay just ditching your account if you start getting a little bit too litigious for comfort.


    Therefore I would suggest you use this method sparingly. If a feedback is defamatory, and damages your trading then it's libellous, and by rights Ebay should remove it. The fact of whether the comment is true or not is a matter for a court, not for Ebay. However, the whole point of this method is to avoid court. If Ebay won't play ball you still have a right to send a letter (or e-mail) of claim to the buyer with the threat of legal action if they don't remove it themselves, but that falls outside of the scope of this howto.




    Step 1
    Consider whether you actually have to resort to making a defamation claim to get a negative feedback removed. You may be able to get a feedback removed simply because it is a clear breach of Ebays feedback policies.


    Ebay's policies regarding abuse of the feedback system are listed under help: policies: feedback on their site.




    Another useful tip is to use any Emails that the buyer has sent you in advance of the neg, as evidence. If the buyer in any way mentions he intends to give you a negative if you don't abide by his demands, then that is a breach of the feedback rules. Personally I'd click the 'report this buyer' button against anyone who threatens a neg, so that you have flagged them up in advance. If the buyer follows through and eventually leaves a neg, the moment you report it nearly always results in it's removal.




    Step 2
    Visit Ebay's 'Defamation Claims' page. Under help: policies: defamation




    On this page Ebay claim that they have no control over the truth or accuracy of feedback or other content posted by users. This is of course nonsense as Ebay both created and control the feedback system and such a wilful refusal to accept themselves as publisher would be no defence against a libel claim.


    Ebay invite you to 'Check to ensure that the content received is in fact defamatory.' They then give a brief guide to libel which on the whole is accurate and instructive, so it's worth reading.


    The first thing you must do is inform Ebay that you regard the feedback as defamatory. They have prepared a special form for doing so called a "Notice of False and Defamatory Content".



    Print off the form and fill in your name and address, e-mail address, contact phone number and your Ebay user ID. Then sign and date page 2 of the form.





    Step 3
    Scan both pages of the form into your computer. If you don't have a scanner then take a clear snapshot of them and load them onto your computer or device.





    Step 4
    Next you need to get a screen-shot of the libellous feedback. So go to the feedback in question and use your computer or device's screenshot function to capture it.




    Step 5
    Ebay provide no e-mail address to return these documents and instead direct you to their uploader. Avoid using the uploader at all costs! It is extremely glitchy and error ridden. Documents consistently go missing via this method, and if I was the paranoid type I'd be prone to believe this was deliberate on Ebay's part to encourage the customer to just give up.


    As Ebay don't publicise the e-mail address of their Defamation Department then I will do it for them, so e-mail your documents.

    (Sorry, I am unable to post the defamation dept. e-mail address. Perhaps someone will do it for me if they have it)


    Step 6
    There is no need to write a detailed account of why you believe the feedback to be libellous, and at this stage you would be wasting your time to do so. Remember, the onus is on the author to prove the comment is true, not for you to prove that it is untrue. Just place the following statement (or a variation of) into the comments box:-


    "I regard this feedback as libellous because it is untrue. It has seriously harmed both my reputation and sales."


    If you have resorted to using the glitchy uploader then under document type select 'Legal Document' and select each page of the Libel Notice you filled in to send. Select 'General Document' to send the screenshot of the libellous comment.


    Hit the upload button. It will probably take you many attempts to successfully upload the documents, so as already stated, e-mail them instead.


    Step 7
    Wait.


    Ebay typically respond to libel claims within 48 hours. They have to act fast as by failing to do so they leave themselves open to further action.


    Make sure the E-mail address you provide them on the form and to register your Ebay account are working properly as this is where you will receive your response from Ebay. It will not appear on the internal Ebay message system provided with your account.


    That's it!


    In most cases Ebay will pull the negative feedback right away. You will then be sent a standard form e-mail response telling you the feedback has been removed. If they drag their feet (and you are based in the UK) you can call Ebay on and ask to speak to the Defamation Claims Department






    Important Tips to Remember

    NEVER RESPOND TO A NEGATIVE FEEDBACK IF YOU INTEND TO CHALLENGE IT
    The simple reason being that if you succeed in having a defamatory feedback removed, your reply to it will remain. Your response is likely to give an indication of what the original negative comment said. In some cases it could have an even worse effect as potential buyers will be left guessing as to what was said in the original feedback in relation to your response.


    There is no way of appealing your own feedback response and having it removed. This is simply because you cannot libel yourself! So don't reply, no matter how tempting it may seem and how infuriated you are.



    DON'T CONTACT THE BUYER WHO LEFT THE FEEDBACK
    It is possible to have a negative feedback removed if they author of the comment agrees to it's removal. This means submitting an Ebay feedback withdrawal request form to your buyer, who in most cases will flatly reject your request.


    Don't use any other method to contact the seller unless you intend to send them a threat of legal action.


    Unless the feedback has clearly been left in error, e-mailing the buyer could be misconstrued as harassment. You don't want an already riled buyer complaining to Ebay customer services and having a warning or possible suspension placed on your account. Contacting the buyer to have the feedback removed should be a very last resort only when you have exhausted all other channels of appeal through Ebay.



    ACT FAST
    The time to issue a notice for defamation is the instant you see it appear in your negative feedback (or as already mentioned above, when a buyer warns you it could be coming). Don't wait around or go belly aching to Ebay customer service on the phone about the comment. Not only are Ebay call handlers notoriously arrogant and unhelpful, they know next to nothing about libel law.


    Get a screen grab of it and e-mail a defamation notice to Ebay straight away. The longer the comment remains the more harm it can do to your potential sales. And until that comment is pushed down onto the next page of your feedback, most of your potential customers are likely to be influenced by it.



    IF YOU'RE NOT SURE IF THE COMMENT IS LIBELLOUS, THEN IT PROBABLY IS
    Don't try to be an armchair lawyer when it comes to negative feedback. Regard ALL negatives as defamatory and libellous.


    In UK law, the onus is on the author of the comment to prove it is true. Unless Ebay mount a full investigation in relation to the transaction, examining documents and goods as well as taking witness statements they cannot ever claim to know the truth behind any single piece of feedback. Ebay will be doing NONE of those things, let alone defending a potential libel action on behalf of one of their members.




    USE THIS METHOD SPARINGLY
    I cannot reiterate this enough. If you only get a neg every few months or so, I see no reason not to challenge them all. Just don't get yourself flagged up as a litigious member by sending in defamation claims every week. A moot point anyway, because if you are constantly receiving negative feedback from members then nothing in this howto will prevent Ebay from suspending your account.




    Good luck with it!


    All the best


    Crimebodge