What just happened? eBay and Amazon are two of the biggest and oldest websites where people shop for goods, but as with so many tech giants, their rivalry can lead to court battles. It's been reported that the online auction company is suing Jeff Bezos’ firm for allegedly poaching sellers from its marketplace.
eBay’s lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, claims that dozens of Amazon reps from the US and around the world created eBay accounts specifically to recruit “high-value” sellers using the company’s internal messaging system.
“Over the past several years, Amazon has perpetrated a scheme to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s internal member email system,” states the suit. “Amazon did this to recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon. The breadth and scope of Amazon’s conduct is startling. Since 2015, dozens of Amazon sales representatives in the U.S. and overseas set up eBay member accounts to access eBay’s ‘M2M’ email system and used that system to solicit many hundreds of eBay sellers to sell on Amazon’s platform.”
More than half of Amazon’s sales come from third-party sellers. With both companies making billions of dollars from their cut of these transactions, it’s not surprising to see eBay taking legal action. The suit comes two weeks after eBay sent Amazon a cease-and-desist letter demanding it stop stealing its sellers, but the tech behemoth apparently ignored the request.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, eBay claims to have evidence "that Amazon coordinated this scheme from its headquarters." eBay says it traced the messages sent to sellers to Amazon IP addresses.
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 suit says that Amazon’s practices violated California computer crime law and its own user agreement.