LOS ANGELES (CN) – An online auctioneer says in Federal Court says it was falsely accused of bid-rigging on the message boards of the popular website purseblog.com.
Nancy Burke allegedly used the online handles BeenBurned and BargainPrincess to write about eDrop-off Chicago, the company owned by Corri McFadden, who stars on the VH1 reality show “House of Consignment.”
McFadden sells designer and luxury fashion items through the auction site eBay but business has faltered under Burke’s “unauthorized attacks” and “cyberbulling” via posts on purseblog.com earlier this month.
Burke accused eDrop-off of “shill bidding” – a practice whereby a group of people bid on an item to artificially inflate its value, according to the complaint.
“Plaintiffs only discovered the defamatory posts days after they appeared when customers told them about BeenBurned’s false statements,” eDrop-Off says.
Though eDrop-off has “zero tolerance” for shill bidding, Burke’s statements caused a “widespread outcry” against eDrop-Off, damaging its previously “impeccable reputation,” according to the complaint.
Purseblog has 95,000 daily visitors and has “become one of the Top 40 online forum communities worldwide,” according to the lawsuit.
“The disparaging comments posted on PurseBlog about eDrop-Off – which PurseBlog has refused to remove – constitute an improper and infringing use of McFadden’s trademark,” the lawsuit states. “As of the date of filing, BeenBurned’s blog entry has received over 8,500 views.”
McFadden and his company seek punitive damages and declaratory relief for defamation and trademark infringement. They are represented by Dominique Shelton with Edwards Wildman Palmer of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Neither McFadden nor purseblog.com immediately responded to requests for comment.