|Thu Aug 1 2019 13:46:40|
eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?
By: Ina Steiner
eBay filed a second lawsuit related to Amazon's recruitment ("poaching") of eBay sellers, accusing three Amazon managers of engaging in a "pattern of racketeering activity - a conspiracy designed to infiltrate and exploit eBay's internal member email system using fraud and false pretenses when recruiting eBay sellers," according to eBay.
In the complaint filed Wednesday, first reported by the New York Times
, eBay wrote, "Amazon reps often described to targeted eBay sellers how they were prospecting as a team led by the Defendants and other Amazon managers. Examples of such communications abound: "I am part of what you would call a hunter/recruiter team which actively searches for sellers we believe can do well on the platform,..."
eBay accused the Amazon employees of violating the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). The New York Times said eBay's lawyer told it a whistleblower helped eBay by providing it with information.
The Times wrote, "EBay cites multiple fake accounts that gained access to its site via an internet address registered to Amazon in Seattle. It includes messages from 2016 to 2018 recruiting sellers that offered a range of items, including shoes, refurbished computers and tools." The article includes a link to the lawsuit.
eBay's sensitivity to Amazon's recruitment activity may come as a surprise to merchants given how long multi-channel selling has been a fact of life in ecommerce. But in an interview published yesterday, eBay CEO Devin Wenig demonstrated a lack of appreciation for sellers' desire to diversify selling channels.
When Mark Steier of Wortfilter.de
asked Wenig what he would want from German sellers if he had 3 wishes, he reportedly laughed and replied, "Number 1: Stop selling on Amazon! Number 2: Stop selling at Amazon! Number 3: Stop selling at Amazon!"
eBay's CEO has been unable to stop a decline in marketplace sales, but trying to dissuade sellers from turning to Amazon (and trying to get Amazon to stop recruiting sellers) may not be the best tactic.
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