Fiverr Forum

Sellers who threaten, extort or intimidate Buyers can be reported to FTC!


#1

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 :


  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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 !



    http://www.spamdexed.com/negative_seo_investigations.html



    http://circleoflegaltrust.com/negative-seo-campaigns-explained-by-a-lawyer/



    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/03/18/negative-seo-have-mercenaries-been-hired-to-torpedo-your-search-rankings/



    http://www.pashalaw.com/negative-seo-lawsuits-coming/




Spamdexed - Removes Google SEO Penalties | Report Webspam

http://www.spamdexed.com




#2

While I agree that making counter threats is deeply unproductive, I couldn’t help but think of this meme as I read through it.

Just report scammers/bad eggs to Fiverr, and get your money back. You could report to the FTC and the hope that a bunch of Californian lawyers will get their thing up and running sometime in the next decade, too. But just ask yourself which 27 countries, and why should they crumple to US demands, any more than the US should crumple to other national demands? As a Brit, I’m still annoyed at your little tea party, guys. Such a waste of good tea.

This meme probably isn’t appropriate, but it makes me chuckle every time, and honestly, that Californian lawyer bit is calling for a puncture.


#3

Awesome, can I report the buyers who try to extort free work out of me by threatening a bad review?


#4

A simple cancellation or asking customer service to cancel would save a lot of money and time spent on resources for activities someone thinks is the most important thing in the world. Especially when view points can differ and ESPECIALLY when people can use this same system for abuse and intimidation on either end of the deal.

I prefer my tax dollars to go towards better resource uses. I also think about the amount of phone calls or visits Fiverr will endure over escalated situations over $5 dollars, that I’m sure they don’t want to deal with, otherwise they would have posted this in their T.O.S.

imo


#5

FTC only applies to America, so for the rest of the world this is pointless…


#6

yes, is it really worth going to FTC and all of this…

just contact fiverr and explain to them what happened so that they will return your money back.

thanks
@ana2001


#7

Awesome


#8

Living in Australia if I made a complaint to the FTC in the US they would pretty much ignore me and tell me to contact the appropriate organisation in Australia, which would be Consumer Affairs, your information only applies to the US and is redundant for the rest of the world!


#9

In the USA anyone is legally allowed to write a review either negative or positive of any business, professional, or company. It is free called speech and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Yes, there have been court cases which were ruled in favor of free speech online, protecting anyone who writes the truth of their experiences.

The United States Federal Trade Commission does not operate nor have authority in other countries.


#10

This made me laugh. If you have time for this, then you have TOO much time on your hands. Get over it and move on.
These are sad AND weak individuals who have to take these extreme measures, but there are worse things people are fighting over in court so go ahead and waste your life away with this nonsense…lol.


#11

Personally, I don’t like the FTC, the FTC made my life hell. Let me explain, I used to have a payday loan client that was using the term “instant [loan] approvals,” a popular term in the industry. The FTC accused my client of deceptive advertising, and since my client was a wussy, we had to change HUNDREDS of advertising pieces and replace “instant approvals” with “instant decisions.” That was a pain in the butt, it was annoying as hell, it was stupid because like I said, everyone else writes “instant approvals” but the FTC doesn’t pick on them, they go after the big boys.

Frankly, why do we have an FTC? Commerce has existed since the days of cavemen. So let’s not waste time with the FTC, the private sector is better and faster. If a seller refuses to cancel, talk to Fiverr (customer service). That’s it. No need to involve big government here, as a matter of fact, Fiverr and the gig economy works because government isn’t involved. If government was involved, you would need a license to sell on Fiverr, maybe take a test and who knows what else?


#12

Before reading this post, I used to believe that only sellers are threatened.


#13

“The FTC won’t let me be or let me be me so let me see
they tried to shut me down on MTV but it feels so empty without me…” Couldn’t help myself :stuck_out_tongue:


#14

Thank you for this information. I am not surprised that most of the people attacking this post are sellers. My experience on Fiverr so has been okay, but this information is very helpful.

More and more buyers need to read this post.


#15

hmm


#16

Unfortunately, reverse of the headings happens more often.


#17

Reply to @r3k0d3d: Sorry, FTC has much far outreach as the same methods used by institutional hackers to damage North American companies (Sony Hack, Ashley Madison Hack) are used by low level trouble creators worldwide. Countries around the world are aware that the same thing happening to North American companies is happening to their businesses and cyber attacks are becoming a method of causing economic interference in operation of companies.

If you noticed the two examples I provided are real examples where the work was performed in North America & Europe but the users were based out of Eastern Europe and Taiwan respectively

FTC Database is regularly searched by multiple agencies which have a great working relationships between most of the developed world and are slowly adding more countries into this network.

Both the high level trouble creators and low level trouble creators use anonymous proxies which is actively monitored by NSA for national security purposes. Anyone using multiple anonymous proxies or TOR network is monitored by NSA and Five Eyes Network (Australia to Germany to UK to Canada to USA). As such, anyone who thinks they can hide beyond anonymous proxies to blast negative links are sadly mistaken. They are probably already on the radar for bigger issues. The networks allow agencies to find out more bad people in such networks. A local drug dealer is always connected to the bigger ones. A buyer of street drugs is connected to more such buyers and is connected to dealers who are in turn connected with the bigger bad guys. As such those providing and selling potentially illegal services (Negative SEO) maybe linked with a larger malicious network. Sellers and Buyers form a kind of social network and tapping into any part of the malicious network exposes the complete network.

Read this article here as to how such networks are mapped. This is similar to how other networks are exposed.

http://www.digitaltonto.com/2013/how-the-nsa-uses-social-network-analysis-to-map-terrorist-networks/

In today’s world, the threats are of these kinds :

a) General Abuse and Mis-Behaviour
b) Negative SEO
c) Reputation Damage by posting negative stuff about the company and name
d) Copyright Infringement by posting your content everywhere.
e) General Threats
f) DDOS Attacks, Vulnerability Hacks etc.

For (b) to (f), an FTC complaint may place these people on the radar of multiple agencies irrespective of where they are. The most damaging attacks on businesses and users today are occurring online, so all countries are teaming up together. It is just a matter of time when new laws will be released to this effect (late 2015-early 2016)

That said, I agree with others here that if easier, lower level and more effective are available, one should use them. If cancellation helps, one should use it and get out. But occassionally, one will meet the bad guys, so do report them. You may help the FTC and other agencies find and home on to someone they may have interest in.


Digital Tonto

http://www.digitaltonto.com


#18

Reply to @joeyperezwest: I agree with you that this may be the best option if it works. Wherever it does not work, one should go all out. There are couple of cases where you can cancel the gig but still face negative SEO and negative link blasts. In such cases, the ratchet should be turned harder.


#19

Reply to @jtengle: Well yes if the threat made is illegal. Threatening a bad review is not considered illegal but threatening to do negative SEO on the seller is illegal. Anything illegal must and can be reported.

You bring a good point. In US and Canada, there are cases where companies actively have been subpoenaing I.P records of users who leave negative comments online about sellers and have sued them successfully in civil courts. Google it, there are many cases.

As lawyers and legal firms are losing business to technology related legal startups, they have found that this is a good market to chase (both for sellers and buyers). So, if you have the legal resources to chase those leaving negative reviews without any basis, find a contingent lawyer and chase them down, make them pay. If the buyer is leaving a bad review on your site or Fiverr, you may not be able to to do much. The buyer has to cross into the defamatory or criminal zone to be chased down and made to pay.

Read the below link. This is for those buyers who become malicious towards the sellers and without filing legal and civil complaints start doing online defamation.

http://www.komando.com/tips/11733/people-are-getting-sued-for-doing-this-one-thing-online/all


undefined

http://www.komando.com


#20

Reply to @dtongsports: I agree. Good luck trying to get a gigantic government agency to do anything about anything so small.