EBay sues Amazon over alleged poaching of sellers

Lloyd Doyle
October 18, 2018

eBay and Amazon representatives declined to comment. Wednesday, accusing its e-commerce rival of illegally poaching its sellers.

The lawsuit alleges the scheme began in 2015, when it claims Amazon representatives began setting up eBay accounts to access eBay's "member to member" (M2M) email system. EBay said it was eventually alerted to the issue by one of its sellers a few weeks ago.

EBay claimed that dozens of Amazon sales representatives in both the USA and overseas were involved in the illegal recruitment drive, adding that hundreds of emails have been sent since 2015. The company has said it was investigating EBay's allegations, which came to light this month after the internet marketplace's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amazon.

Additionally, when Amazon contacted the sellers, it broke up its emails and phone numbers by using periods and spelling out addresses. eBay says this was Amazon's attempt to avoid detection and proof it knew it was breaking the rules.

The lawsuit says the messages show Amazon was aware its practices violated eBay's use policies. An Amazon spokeswoman told the WSJ the company was conducting a thorough investigation of the accusations. Amazon, meanwhile, has added more third-party sellers, who also sell new items and are competing with eBay merchants for customers.

Amazon overall is estimated to account for about half of retail dollars spent online in the US. Last year, Amazon also offered discounts on items sold by third-party sellers and reimbursed independent merchants the amounts it cost them.

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