The lawsuit an auto accessories seller filed against eBay regarding the eBay Motors marketplace’s Featured Plus! service is valid and may continue, a judge ruled late last week.
Custom LED filed the suit against eBay in January, claiming it paid for Featured Plus! for months but did not see a boost in search results for its items, like the service had promised. The company also claims that Featured Plus! was broken for the last half of 2011, and that eBay continued charging for it, though it was aware of the issue.
Judge Susan Illston ruled that the suit is valid and can move forward. She notes that eBay’s argument that Featured Plus! does not guarantee an item will rank higher in search results overlooks the fact that the service’s description does promise higher rankings.
“[The] defendants’ argument that the contract did not promise ‘priority’ if consumers initiated their search from core eBay, or decided to sort their search results by anything other than Best Match, ignores that the Featured Plus! description did promise to list Featured Plus! items in a ‘section at the top of the search results page’ without any limitation or description,” she writes.
Illston adds that Feature Plus! rules do not guarantee that a “reasonable seller” would understand that Featured Plus! only gives listings a boost when buyers search for products using Best Match. Both the parties acknowledged that the boost only occurs with Best Match.
However the judge dismissed the common-law fraud and deceit claims the plaintiff was pursuing as part of the lawsuit. Custom LED was seeking damages for breach of contract, unfair business practices, false advertising and fraud.