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?
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.
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.
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Try to work it out with the buyer. You're better off in the end.
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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 http://michiganinternetlawyer.blogspot.com/
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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.
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