EBay accuses Amazon of ‘unlawful’ merchant poaching

EBay has accused three Amazon managers of illegally conspiring to poach its sellers.

Amazon employees have been using eBay’s seller messaging feature to influence the merchants over to Amazon, eBay claims.  The “scheme” has been going on for several years and in several countries, it says.

In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, eBay says three of the Amazon managers directed dozens of workers to illegally use eBay’s private messaging system to solicit sellers onto Amazon’s platform.

EBay first raised concerns that Amazon was poaching its sellers last fall in a lawsuit that has since moved to arbitration. In the new case, eBay says the outreach was not a few rogue employees but part of a larger effort within Amazon, with managers giving lower-lever employees lists of eBay sellers to target.

However, Amazon initially said it was investigating the claim. In court, Amazon petitioned to move the case to arbitration, where eBay’s user agreement requires disputes be adjudicated. The case remains in arbitration.

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