eBay Seller Who Sued Customers For Bad Feedback Has To Pay Legal Fees

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Let this be a warning to any other asshats out there that try to pull this kind of crap. A twenty thousand dollar slap on the wrist ought to serve as a reminder that consumers have the right to leave negative feedback.

You may remember that back in 2013, an eBay seller filed a lawsuit against a customer who left him accurate negative feedback, claiming that he hadn’t actually read his own suit when the company’s actions led to Internet backlash. Now the case has finally been resolved, with a judge ordering the seller to pay $19,000 in attorneys’ fees to the local lawyers who took the customer’s case pro bono.
 

kirbyrj

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If they took the case pro bono, why are they getting reimbursed for legal fees? Lawyers are just as shady as the "asshat" seller.
 

Dekoth-E-

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If they took the case pro bono, why are they getting reimbursed for legal fees? Lawyers are just as shady as the "asshat" seller.

Pro bono means if the customer loses they don't charge him anything. If he wins, then they collect a fee from the loser. They aren't doing anything shady. This us actually what a good lawyer will do.
 

illram

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Pro bono means if the customer loses they don't charge him anything. If he wins, then they collect a fee from the loser. They aren't doing anything shady. This us actually what a good lawyer will do.

Exactly. Unless you don't like the idea of highly trained professionals working for you for free?
 

Crosshairs

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Pro bono means if the customer loses they don't charge him anything. If he wins, then they collect a fee from the loser. They aren't doing anything shady. This us actually what a good lawyer will do.


No, pro bono means free...contingency is when they collect a fee only if you win
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

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Again you guys are proving that none of you have any idea what a pro boner even is, let alone what to do with one on the off chance that it happens. :D
 

Fun

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I kind of understand the guy's frustration, what with being a seller on ebay and all, but to actually sue someone because of a single negitive FB? Come on. Negitive FB is not the end of the world, but suing someone because of it is. Good luck, buddy.
 

kirbyrj

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No, pro bono means free...contingency is when they collect a fee only if you win

Exactly, the whole idea of pro bono is doing something free for the public good. If you are doing something for the public good and then seek to get paid for it after you do it, you're a scumbag too.
 

Ocellaris

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I got back into using eBay again and the sheer ineptitude of both buyers and sellers blows my mind. This is just from the last two weeks.

- Sold one item clearly marked as used, with two picture of the item showing it was used, that said used in the description, that sold at the correct price for a used item... Buy complained that he thought the item was new.

- I bought an unopened collectible, it showed up to my house clearly opened. Buy said I was trying to scam him and he would report me to eBay if I did anything. I sent him a video of me opening the shipping box and then pulling out the item which was open one one end.

I won't buy or sell anything over $100 now, this shit is ridiculous...
 

Ragenrok

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I kind of understand the guy's frustration, what with being a seller on ebay and all, but to actually sue someone because of a single negitive FB? Come on. Negitive FB is not the end of the world, but suing someone because of it is. Good luck, buddy.

What frustration? The seller shipped something with insufficient postage and buyer had to pay the missing postage so she left negative feedback. Seller was completely in the wrong here and deserves this for pulling crap like a lawsuit.
 

illram

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No, pro bono means free...contingency is when they collect a fee only if you win

"Pro bono" only means there is no amount deducted from the client's award or charged to the client at any point.

"Pro bono" attorneys regularly seek fees and costs from the losing party when they win their cases, it's how a variety of legal aid organizations work. There is no expectation in the legal system that a "pro bono" lawyer is not even entitled to costs and fees from the loser when the law provides for it. That would be silly.
 

fleggett

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How do you even leave negative feedback on eBay anymore, as either a buyer or seller?
 

Impulse

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I'm just going to leave this one here to highlight the amazing of this statement.

Everyone loves a good pro boner

He's right tho, it's strictly amateur boners only at my abode, I'd be lost with a pro. :D
 

Lunas

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There are still fees that must be paid in reality all pro bono means is the defending lawyer wont get paid the court will get paid the lawyer may be reimbursed not for his time but gas and courrier and filing costs and so may the defendant.

honestly 20k grand is probably just barely going to cover the filing fees and the wages of the officers in the court and if there was a jury the jury gets paid for their time. Not counting what the sellers atourney is charging him either.
 

twonunpackmule

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I'm pissed because I've gotten my negative feedback removed from people who took weeks/months to fix issues.
 

Carbon_Rod

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If they took the case pro bono, why are they getting reimbursed for legal fees? Lawyers are just as shady as the "asshat" seller.

This is just a guess because none of the articles I read on this specifically spells out the specifics behind the legal fees (other than two lawyers were representing the defendant pro bono), but since the ebay seller's case resided almost solely on the fact that the buyer wasn't likely to want to or be able to pay for a lawyer in that jurisdiction to defend herself in court, then maybe the judge turned things around and decided to award the defense attorneys legal fees as a sort of punishment and deterrent to the ebay seller. So, regardless of having put up a defense for free, the two lawyers may have just been handed a bonus from the judge. Again, this is just a guess.
 

illram

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I see your internet googling efforts and raise you with "I'm a lawyer and I know this because I have actually done pro-bono representation before."

In a properly drafted pro bono retainer agreement, the client never pays, the loser pays. The service rendered to the client is still "free." Unless the lawyer is incompetent, the retainer will always provide for the attorney to collect their legal fees and costs from the losing party if the law provides for such an award, and a good lawyer will always explain this to their client so they fully understand. There is nothing unethical about this and this is commonly done. See e.g. the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Pro Bono Handbook which states at page 8 "When available, the pro bono attorney is encouraged to seek attorney fees. The pro bono attorney may retain fees when awarded by the court." And that's fees--i.e., their hourly rate. Not just costs (like filing fees). Costs are often waived in pro bono representation.


There are also pro bono things like free consultations and so on where the lawyer truly receives nothing for their time. This is more common than pro bono lawyers actually going to trial, probably. For example, a tenants' rights clinic, or a legal aid society that counsels people on random things like wills or divorces or whatever. That is different only insofar as in these limited scope contexts, there is no trial after which the Judge can award victorious counsel their fees.
 

Galvin

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Interesting how this thread turned into pro bono.

Ebay has gotten worse over the years. Slow buyers suck. Someone wins your item, then they take weeks to pay. Then take weeks more to leave feedback.
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

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I see your internet googling efforts and raise you with "I'm a lawyer and I know this because I have actually done pro-bono representation before."

In a properly drafted pro bono retainer agreement, the client never pays, the loser pays. The service rendered to the client is still "free." Unless the lawyer is incompetent, the retainer will always provide for the attorney to collect their legal fees and costs from the losing party if the law provides for such an award, and a good lawyer will always explain this to their client so they fully understand. There is nothing unethical about this and this is commonly done. See e.g. the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Pro Bono Handbook which states at page 8 "When available, the pro bono attorney is encouraged to seek attorney fees. The pro bono attorney may retain fees when awarded by the court." And that's fees--i.e., their hourly rate. Not just costs (like filing fees). Costs are often waived in pro bono representation.


There are also pro bono things like free consultations and so on where the lawyer truly receives nothing for their time. This is more common than pro bono lawyers actually going to trial, probably. For example, a tenants' rights clinic, or a legal aid society that counsels people on random things like wills or divorces or whatever. That is different only insofar as in these limited scope contexts, there is no trial after which the Judge can award victorious counsel their fees.

I guess that does it then. This thread actually contains a pro at pro boner. The rest of you guys can call it a day. You're no longer necessary here.
 

lcpiper

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No, pro bono means free...contingency is when they collect a fee only if you win

You are correct. It would seem the Judge was happy that these lawyers would take the case pro-bono for a victim who had no means of defense. The Judge rewarded the good guys and did it in a way that saw the real asshole pay for it all.
 

kirbyrj

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I see your internet googling efforts and raise you with "I'm a lawyer and I know this because I have actually done pro-bono representation before."

In a properly drafted pro bono retainer agreement, the client never pays, the loser pays. The service rendered to the client is still "free." Unless the lawyer is incompetent, the retainer will always provide for the attorney to collect their legal fees and costs from the losing party if the law provides for such an award, and a good lawyer will always explain this to their client so they fully understand. There is nothing unethical about this and this is commonly done. See e.g. the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Pro Bono Handbook which states at page 8 "When available, the pro bono attorney is encouraged to seek attorney fees. The pro bono attorney may retain fees when awarded by the court." And that's fees--i.e., their hourly rate. Not just costs (like filing fees). Costs are often waived in pro bono representation.


There are also pro bono things like free consultations and so on where the lawyer truly receives nothing for their time. This is more common than pro bono lawyers actually going to trial, probably. For example, a tenants' rights clinic, or a legal aid society that counsels people on random things like wills or divorces or whatever. That is different only insofar as in these limited scope contexts, there is no trial after which the Judge can award victorious counsel their fees.

Fair enough. Although, it kind of makes the whole idea of pro bono in civil litigation a joke. Although in fairness to me, I have spent quality time in a court room, usually as the affiant in criminal cases. I don't see think I've ever seen "pro bono" defense lawyers extracting legal fees from the state.
 

illram

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If there was no possibility for fee awards in certain types of litigation--e.g. civil rights cases, first amendment cases (like this one!) etc.--you would see little no representation for people who needed representation or access to the court system. The Courts would remain the domain of monied interests, barring some sort of change in the law providing access to counsel for indigents, analogous to how we have public defenders (who are paid by the state).

I know people think all lawyers are all just rich douche bags but this isn't really true (well the rich part isn't true.) Legal representation is a service and if some asshole like this ebay seller makes a whole bunch of people waste their time and effort defeating bullshit lawsuits, that asshole should pay for wasting everyone's time.
 
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