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eBay sues Amazon for poaching sellers

By Chris Dawson October 18, 2018 - 8:57 am

eBay sues Amazon in a law suit filed this week after the accused Amazon and Amazon employees of purposefully opening eBay accounts in order to use eBay messages to solicit eBay sellers to become Amazon merchants.

On the 3rd of October eBay sent Amazon a Cease and Desist letter and in the court filing eBay states Amazon failed t0 confirm that it would cease and desist, and it did not provide any requested information.

There is little doubt that this has been going on for years according to Tamebay readers who were quick to recount instances where Amazon had tried to poach them through eBay.

The crux of eBay’s law suit is that Amazon employees opened eBay accounts for the sole purpose of using their messaging system. In some instances cited, messages were sent with the intention of poaching sellers within minutes of opening a new account from a device on an Amazon registered IP address. eBay’s User Agreement is clear that soliciting off-eBay sales is prohibited and messages were deliberately designed to get around eBay’s filters by spelling out website addresses, abbreviating the word Amazon to AMZ and breaking up phone numbers with dots between the digits to try and disguise them.

eBay sues Amazon on five counts

  1. Intentional interference with contractual relations
  2. Intentional interference with prospective economic relations
  3. Fraud
  4. Violation of California Penal Code § 502(c)
  5. Violation of California Business and Professions Code § 502(c)

What will Amazon have to disclose about merchants’ sales?

eBay are asking for all unlawful proceeds including an accounting of revenue derived from sellers recruited by Amazon through eBay messages. They are also asking for damages for lost revenue, punitive damages attorney’s fees and interest.

It’s the unlawful proceeds which are interesting as this will involve Amazon in disclosing sales figures by the merchants recruited through eBay messages. Amazon won’t like disclosing this type of information in public and certainly not to eBay. Whilst it’s possible to glean some information that’s publicly available, Amazon will have to disclose every penny of sellers revenues.

eBay have asked for trial by Jury in California. It’s possible Amazon may try to settle out of court in an effort to avoid disclosing proprietary information. It’s also possible that eBay might prefer to go to trial to embarrass Amazon even more than any financial settlement that might be offered.

  • Max K
    1 month ago

    The forums are full of posts containing various variations on “had enough, I’m closing my shop and concentrating on other venues”

    Fact of the matter is this is so eBay to blame others for their own failings. Bottom line… eBay, through its boneheaded management and policies, has driven away sellers, and their starting to get the message. But rather than change, as is their typical modus operandi, they’re looking to impart blame elsewhere.

  • Toby
    1 month ago

    ‘eBay are asking for all unlawful proceeds including an accounting of revenue derived from sellers recruited by Amazon through eBay messages. They are also asking for damages for lost revenue, punitive damages attorney’s fees and interest.’
    Well ebay…. this is what it is like for us sellers on a regular basis…. unlawful actions by ebay refunding obvious scammers etc etc. We have to put up with loss of earnings, and fraudulant activity all the time, but you don’t care as you MAKE money out of it…. Suddenly the boot is on the other foot and you are crying like a baby. Suck it up buttercup!
    The strange thing is, amazon hardly have to go to such great lengths to get ebay sellers…. they are migrating naturally, like ebays buyers… Maybe ebay needs to look closer to home for the real issue?

  • PAUL S
    1 month ago

    Maybe Amazon sellers should also be suing Amazon for stealing their suppliers. As an Amazon merchant I find it extremely disingenuous of Amazon that they go directly to our suppliers and list the same items. They don’t generally undercut the RRP but they do not charge for postage which gives them a huge advantage and customers also prefer to buy directly from amazon anyway even if everything else is equal They’re happy to take our money but at the same time they are deliberately undermining our business.

  • Vinnie
    1 month ago

    I have absolutely no sympathy for eBay at all. EBay sellers will require very little incentive to move over to Amazon and eBay are so stupid and stuck in their oppressive ways they cant see the wood for the trees. Anyone that invests money and time in an eBay business must be mad, all they will get is a world of pain.

  • PAUL S
    1 month ago

    Ebay are p**sing into the wind as usual.