eBay filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Wednesday that accused the online giant of illegally poaching sellers using eBay’s internal messaging system.
The lawsuit says Amazon “perpetuated a scheme to infiltrate and exploit eBay’s internal member email system” in order to “recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon.” The system allows sellers to communicate with one another, with the company and with customers.
“The breadth and scope of Amazon’s conduct is startling -- involving large numbers of Amazon reps, targeting many hundreds of eBay sellers, and spanning several countries overseas and many states in the United States,” eBay attorneys said in the complaint.
The suit filed in Santa Clara County, California, alleges that Amazon representatives have established eBay seller accounts to recruit the sellers since 2015. The online marketplace had previously sent a letter to Amazon to cease the activity and provide information about the conduct.
Amazon at the time said it was investigating the accusation, but it didn’t stop the conduct or provide information, eBay said in the complaint.
Both Amazon and eBay rely on independent merchants to provide products to sell on the websites.
While Amazon’s sales have taken off, eBay has struggled. While it saw a 9 percent increase in revenue after the first quarter of 2018, its operating expenses also increased, causing the company to lay off 274 workers.