On Wednesday, eBay filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against three Amazon managers claiming the managers “conducted the affairs of Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) through a pattern of racketeering activity.”
This lawsuit is similar to a previous lawsuit eBay brought against Amazon.com, Inc.
In that suit, eBay accused the Seattle-based online retailer was poaching high-value sellers from its platform to sell on the Amazon platform. That lawsuit is now in arbitration.
eBay alleges conspiracy
In the new suit, eBay is accusing the three Amazon managers of illegally conspiring to poach its sellers.
eBay alleges the managers engaged in “… a conspiracy designed to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s internal member email system using fraud and false pretenses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The managers did this to illegally recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon.”
“The breadth and scope of the racketeering activity are startling. Amazon managers and others at Amazon directed dozens of Amazon sales representatives in the U.S. and overseas to set up and use eBay member accounts to access eBay’s “M2M” email system to solicit many hundreds of eBay sellers to sell on Amazon’s platform.”
eBay says Amazon used “hunter/recruiter team”
eBay further says, “This exploitation of eBay’s M2M system has been coordinated, targeted, and designed to inflict harm on eBay. One Amazon sales representative described the team he worked on as a “hunter/recruiter team which actively searches for sellers.” The Defendants and other Amazon managers trained sales representatives on how to solicit eBay sellers using the M2M system—referred to internally as “prospecting”—and instructed sales representatives to open eBay accounts if they did not already have them, so that the representatives could get access to the M2M system.”
eBay claims training on evading messaging detection techniques
eBay also claimed that, “The Defendants and other Amazon managers trained sales representatives about eBay detection techniques and how to avoid them, and Amazon representatives were diligent students, observing that (in the words of one such representative) “eBay monitors their messages pretty well for contact info,” that “eBay doesn’t allow phone numbers in these messages,” and that “ebay will not allow the exchange of email addresses in these messages[.]”
Here is the complete lawsuit detailing eBay’s claims how these three Amazon managers (and others) allegedly poached eBay sellers to sell on the Amazon marketplace.
This lawsuit comes at an inopportune time for Amazon. The giant online retailer is facing scrutiny in the US Congress and from EU regulators about anti-competitive practices.