American multinational ecommerce firm eBay has filed a lawsuit against Amazon for use of illegal tactics to recruit sellers. In the lawsuit, it claims that Amazon representatives abused internal email system of eBay to contact sellers, which is a clear violation of the marketplace policies.
The lawsuit follows a letter from eBay demanding Amazon to end such an activity. The Seattle-based Amazon declined to comment on the subject but it had previously suggested that the claims are being investigated. In the lawsuit filed in Santa Clara county in California, eBay says Amazon representatives created accounts on its platforms to solicit sellers. The lawsuit alleges that these representatives sent messages within minutes of setting up their profiles.
It says the activity dates back to at least 2015 and involved dozens of Amazon representatives, who each sent hundreds of emails. It claims to have been alerted to the issue a few weeks ago by a seller and immediately asked Amazon to stop the activity. The lawsuit also adds that Amazon was aware of the practices that violated eBay’s user policies.
In its lawsuit, eBay says that Amazon’s practices “appear to be part of a larger pattern of aggressive, unscrupulous conduct” carried out by the Seattle company. As part of the lawsuit, eBay is seeking monetary damages when the lawsuit goes for a jury trial.
The California-based eBay launched in 1995 as a platform that connected buyers directly to sellers. The company, which also owns the ticket resale site StubHub, is seen as the pioneer of online shopping. It boasts of more than 175 million active buyers and generated sales of nearly $90 billion from the platform last year.
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However, its appeal has faded due to increased competition from Amazon, which has more merchants and offers incentives for shopping in the form of Prime membership. Amazon says more than half of the items sold on its platform came from third-party merchants last year. It will be interesting to watch how US court delivers its verdict amidst a climate where US President Donald Trump remains critical of Amazon’s business practices.