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Can I sue an ebay buyer for libel for leaving negative feedback stating that my items are fake if I have proof of authenticity?

Southfield, MI |

I sell designer clothing on ebay. My sales are over $1M annually and most of it is from designer clothing. For obvious reasons my buyers want to be sure that they are getting authentic merchandise. Recently a buyer left me negative feedback (without contacting me first) stating that the item they purchased was counterfeit. I offered to send them my invoices as proof that the item is authentic but they don't want to change the feedback. I only received one such feedback (claiming counterfeit) and it was a few years back. At this point, I'm worried this one will scare away buyers.
Do I have a case for libel? If so, how do I go about it?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Defamation is a false statement of fact about another that causes damages (loosely speaking, anyhow). Here, your facts seem rare in that they are posted on Avvo, and there's actually a potential defamation claim there. If someone falsely accuses you of selling counterfeit goods, this could be defamation per se.

  2. Best is to call buyer and try to work something out to make him happy, so it will get removed. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish with 1m in sales.

  3. Try to work it out with the buyer. You're better off in the end.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at

  4. You should contact an attorney who can contact the buyer on your behalf. This would likely result in the buyer giving in to your demand to remove the content.

    Information about Internet defamation can be read at

    Good luck!

    No attorney-client relationship is established via The material posted by Kyle J. Bristow, Esq., is for educational purposes for prospective clients only and people should not make legal decisions based on it. You are advised not to take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what Mr. Bristow has stated on this website.

  5. Have you determined the buyer's basis for the claim of counterfeit? That is, in my view, a critical next step. It may be that e-B can be enlisted to assist with determining that critical bit of info.

    You may have a claim here, but read up on the Streisand effect before you go much further. If you have lots of good feedback, it can be a serious strategic error to shine a spotlight on one bad feedback, especially in a community like e-B.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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