Ebay sues Amazon over 'orchestrated campaign to poach sellers'

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eBay and Amazon representatives declined to comment.

EBay's lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, claims that dozens of Amazon reps from the USA and around the world created eBay accounts specifically to recruit "high-value" sellers using the company's internal messaging system.

Amazon representatives allegedly attempted to evade detection using code words and abbreviations, by spelling out their email addresses and also asking eBay sellers to speak with them over the phone.

eBay's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in California's Santa Clara County, accuses Amazon of having "perpetrated a scheme to infiltrate and exploit eBay's internal member email system" over the past few years, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In eBay's lawsuit, Amazon representatives are accused of creating eBay accounts and then messaging sellers to persuade them to take their goods to Amazon.com instead. eBay argues that the move violated its user agreement.


The lawsuit comes two weeks after eBay sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amazon, saying it had uncovered evidence, going back years, of the alleged poaching effort.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company is "conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations".

Ebay says it wants to stop Amazon misusing its messaging platform and to pay it an unspecified sum. Amazon, meanwhile, has added more third-party sellers, who also sell new items and are competing with eBay merchants for customers.

Both companies rely on independent sellers to boost their revenue.

Amazon overall is estimated to account for about half of retail dollars spent online in the US.

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