Ebay has officially launched legal action against Amazon after it accused the online giant of “repeatedly” attempting to poach sellers.
Earlier this month it was reported that the auction website had sent its rival a cease and desist letter following accusations that it was perpetrating “an unlawful and troubling scheme” to coerce traders on Ebay to instead sell on its own platform.
Today Ebay has launched a lawsuit in California claiming that Amazon has for years attempted to “infiltrate and exploit eBay’s internal member email system”, in what it said appeared to be part of a “larger pattern of aggressive, unscrupulous conduct.”
The alleged messages are understood to have been sent by over 50 Amazon sales representatives over several years, in numerous countries including the UK and US.
According to Ebay the online retail giant’s representatives had attempted to avoid detection when communicating with sellers, spelling out email addresses and phone numbers and referring to Amazon as AMZ.
It added that this activity breached the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and Ebay’s user agreement by promoting sales outside the platform.
“Amazon’s misuse of Ebay’s M2M system has been coordinated, targeted, and designed to inflict harm on Ebay,” the complaint read.
“Indeed, one of the Amazon sales representatives who participated in this scheme described the team he worked on as a ‘hunter/recruiter team which actively searches for sellers we believe can do well on the (Amazon) platform.’”
Ebay is now seeking financial damages, while Amazon has said it has launched a thorough investigation into the alleged activity.