Day: April 16, 2013

Don't Buy from med_express_sales

Hi, I'm the Frivolous Suit.  And I think Med Express is AWESOME.

I've never done business with Med Express. I can't speak to the quality of their products or services.

But, per Ken White at Popehat, I know enough to know I wouldn't do business with them even if the opportunity ever did arise.

See, Med Express is suing a customer for giving it negative feedback on eBay.

It doesn't dispute the substance of the feedback. And yet, it's suing all the same.

When notified of the problem, Med Express immediately offered to reimburse Nicholls for the postage due amount. Despite this offer, and before giving Med Express a chance to reimburse her, Nicholls on February 26, 2013, apparently as a result of the $1.44 postage due, posted negative feedback and comments for the transaction on Ebay's website and gave Med Express low ratings in the Detailed Seller Ratings section of Ebay's Feedback Forum, resulting in an unfavorable feedback profile for Med Express. In so doing, Nicholls falsely and deliberately slandered the good name and reputation of Med Express.

Well, okay, two things:

  1. Anyone who refers to written words as "slander" is clearly not familiar with even the basics of defamation law. Here, I'll let J Jonah Jameson explain:
  2. It's not defamatory if it's true.

Now, free speech attorney Paul Alan Levy tried to explain that to Med Express's lawyer. Here's how that went:

I contacted James Amodio, Med Express's lawyer, to explain to him the many ways in which his lawsuit is untenable. He readily admitted that, as the complaint admits, everything that the customer had posted in her feedback was true; he did not deny that a statement has to be false to be actionable as defamation; but he just plain didn’t care. To the contrary, he told me that I could come up to Medina, Ohio, and argue whatever I might like, but that the case was going to continue unless the feedback was taken down or changed to positive. And he explained why his client was insisting on this change — he said that it sells exclusively over eBay, where a sufficient level of negative feedback can increase the cost of such sales as well as possibly driving away customers.

So okay, that brings up another point:

You don't actually have a legal right not to lose business because of bad reviews.

Let's look at, say, the Rotten Tomatoes page for Olympus has Fallen.

David Edelstein calls it "a disgusting piece of work". Richard Roeper says it's "just too much of a pale 'Die Hard' ripoff."

You know what? People listen to those guys. Olympus has Fallen was seventh at the BO last weekend, a million and a half behind a movie that came out in 1993.

Hell, here's a bad review of this very website:

I was going to check your site out, but then you gave it that thoroughly unfunny plug. I'd actually read My damn site before I ever went to Corporate Sellout.

But did I sue Geothermal? No. Even though I never sold a T-shirt to anyone but my grandmother.

Because -- and this is kind of important -- it's totally legal to criticize things you don't like. Even if it hurts their business. Even if your intention is to hurt their business. Just so long as what you're saying is either (1) actually true or (2) a personal opinion rather than a statement of fact.

Here are some examples:

Statement of fact: Med Express sues its customers for giving it negative feedback on eBay.

Personal opinion: Med Express is run by immoral scumbags who want to wipe their asses with the First Amendment and use the Ohio courts as their own personal enforcement racket.

And then of course there's our good friend the Streisand Effect.

Yesterday morning I'd never heard of Med Express, and you probably hadn't either.

Now, you have and I have. And our opinion of them is not positive. In fact it's almost certainly a lot more negative than if we'd just seen a single bad review of them on eBay. Especially given that, for fuck's sake, their feedback is 99.3% positive. Seriously, would anyone have even looked at that one bad review? One of only two bad reviews compared to 300 good ones?

I imagine their search results would be taking a beating, too, if their name weren't so damn generic as to get subsumed in a deluge of other companies with the same name.

A note to Mr. Amodio and any other bullies or thugs who may be reading this: Everything I have said in this post is either (1) a factual statement which is true to the best of my knowledge or (2) a statement of personal opinion.

If I have said anything that is factually incorrect, let me know and, if I can verify your claim, I will correct it.

And if you drop the case, apologize to Ms. Nicholls, and offer her fair compensation for the trouble you have caused her, I will be willing to amend this post to make note of that. I will retitle it and add a disclaimer at the beginning stating that Med Express has done the right thing and all is forgiven.

Provided you ask nicely rather than threaten me. Seriously, you really should stop threatening people; it is not a very good way to make people stop saying bad things about you.