When people buy services, occasionally one will come across sellers who may threaten buyers or extort high ratings and even try to intimidate users. The first step should be to report it to Fiverr Customer Care. Fiverr considers sellers as independent contractors and any legal action should be pursued between the buyer and the seller.
Irrespective of where you are based in the world, as Fiverr is a platform service and is operating under the guidelines of FTC, one can take the following actions :
- Report to Fiverr, immediately capture the screenshots and wait for Fiverr to respond. If Fiverr does not deem the dispute transactional i. e quality of services not delivered as promised or the Seller violation beyond Fiverr’s ability to penalize, Fiverr may not take any action.
- Now, move to FTC and report the Seller with as much details as you can. FTC will provide you a Ticket Number which you should keep on file. Go to FTC complaint Assistant website, chose the category Internet Services, Online Shopping or Computers, Click and Chose Internet Services and provide as much detail as you can. If you have more information about the subject i.e any online footprint, please add this as well.
- FTC Database is regularly checked by multi-agency law enforcement in US and actively shared with more than 18 countries worldwide, so even if FTC does not take any immediate action, be assured that reporting to FTC works.
Example 1- A person from a similar site was reported to be threatening users with economic interference (Negative SEO, Brand Reputation Damage by way of spam posting negative comments). This person travelled to UK for some work, was detained, kept in holding and a search of his laptop revealed some activity basis which he was jailed.
Example 2 - A couple in East Asian country was denied immigration in Australia basis a similar complaint made against them when they were running a web development company in Taiwan. Immigration authorities do multi-country check prior issuing long term visas and this couple paid the price for making some stupid comments online. Apparently, the real identity of these people was revealed by one of the online payment authorities and added to the database.Few months later, the couple’s son was denied student visa in Australia and USA without any reason provided. This couple was very well educated and spoiled their career and their future by making some stupid comments
Many of these incidents of threats occur when people are buying services that are suspicious while some do occur when you are buying genuine services. Negative SEO and other related activities are seen as economic interference and a group of lawyers in California are working together to get a law passed to treat all such threats and Acts as criminal acts and ratified by more than 27 countries. If these lawyers have their way, college admissions, bank transfers, online payment such as through payments portals, visit and immigration visa denials, bank account opening and even extradition would become possible easily in such cases. These lawyers are also proposing that domain names and online accounts should be seized in such cases by enlisting hosting providers in these actions globally. Although this part of the lawyers mission is far fetched, but they are proposing that with one shared notification backed up by a civil or criminal complaint, the hosting service providers and Domain Name Registrars should release all details within 12 working days. Data from anynymous proxies is already being actively collated by agencies on a daily basis so there is nothing called online anonymity.
Hence, beware when you are buying or selling such suspicious services as you may not know who is buying or selling at the other end. Buying negative SEO services is also illegal so it may be a trap. If you buy paid backlinks from a seller and have a rift with the seller, the seller can easily report the buyer and the website to Google impacting rankings. Fiverr is right in advising buyers and sellers to beware of their transactions and avoid any Third Party Violations.
Bottomline, do your diligence, report to Fiverr CS, report to FTC and wait for the events to fold as sometimes it may take some time and even few months. Whatever happens, DO NOT make counter threats. The only threat not deemed illegal is that you will report the case to Fiverr, FTC or Media Agencies and that you will be pursuing legal action. Besides, that any threats that buyers make are also deemed illegal. One more thing, many times, as buyers,you will find great, responsive and value adding sellers, do make sure you recognize them and leave a great feedback. Fiverr will become a better place when we encourage great sellers and banish the bad ones.
Few Links here for further reading !