Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 1 2019 13:46:40

eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

By: Ina Steiner

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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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Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Mon Aug 5 08:59:44 2019

Jack Crabb : I don't understand it, grandfather, why would they kill their own Sellers?

Old Lodge Skins : Because they are strange. They do not seem to know where the center of the Earth is. We must have a war on these cowards and teach them a lesson.

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 09:18:59 2019

Without arguing with ANYONE here - eBay said it themselves in their 10k statement.

They acknowledged that many of the rules and procedures they have put in place will "substantially" upset their seller base and that they are aware it will cost them $$$.

Ok so there you go - its not about Bezos, its not about Amazon poaching sellers - its simply about eBay owning up that it does things that anger its own customers.

How long does anyone expect any company to survive (never mind GROW) when you anger your customers???? WOuld you be rude to all your guests if you owned a restaurant? How about if you owned a hotel?? (this isnt Fawlty Towers!).

Theres no law suit here at all - good luck to the dopes from San Jose, once again doing the wrong thing.

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 09:23:02 2019

There is no reason for Amazon to buy fleecebay.....fleecebay is shooting itself in the foot every day. The only advantages fleecebay has is it has auctions, and some used or antique/collectible items for sale. Amazon wants to put fleecebay down.....all they have to do is allow used/antique/collectible sales or start Amazonsattic or something.....that would cost fleecebay 13% net of its profit, which is enough to put fleecebay in the red permanently. Fleecebay had its market.....got greedy and its going to cost them dearly. Its just taking a while for the pigeons to get home. You will know its over when Wenig steps down or is forced out......

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 10:49:28 2019

Ebay had the best when most everyone was equal in the search engine, and sales were good. Then the CEO decided to throttle sellers by limiting the search engine to whatever he decides he likes to look at or to benefit brand name  partners, other countries because they do not have to pay taxes on that income, etc. Result, mass exodus to Amazon and other markets. Sellers do not sell to amuse themselves. They sell to make money. When that is no longer viable, they find other sources. Ebay needs to take a look at its roots, and go back to an open market. .  

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by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 10:54:55 2019

Newsflash for ebay, Amazon is not poaching us sellers, we are all leaving ebay and moving our inventory to Amazon all ON OUR OWN!. With ebay's abusive practices towards it's sellers it's a wonder ebay even exists anymore.  

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 5 11:35:57 2019

When eBay hides seller ID's people are going to go crazy!

It's coming and it's not going to be good for the seller but it'll be great for eBay

They'll have complete control over the sale

You either fulfill the order or get dropped as a seller

Buyers will never know who the seller is unless the seller inserts a note in the package.

The label probably won't even have your return address on it, it'll be a eBay return warehouse. . .I say this happens no longer then 2 years out from now.

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by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 14:49:08 2019

@KE6HTS

"EBay has been driving people from their site for years, so this is nothing new... except to new people :)."

Correct. As more and more experienced sellers get tired of eBay and become more aware of the ongoing extortion and fraud commited against them, they will give eBay the middle finger and leave. That's why eBay is now going after anyone/everyone new trying to con them into "selling" there. They're purposely going after amateurs with selling promotions and also spamming buyers with messages. All of their scams, constant changes, and difficutly to sell there will work better on new sellers that don't know what they're doing and don't know what kind of company they're dealing with. eBay preys on people like this for the purpose of taking money. Can everyone say DESPERATE?

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 5 15:42:34 2019

@thievesBay

Some sellers here sound way more desperate then eBay is.

if you feel ABUSED by eBay why do you keep selling there?

This same question is asked of abused women. . . .Yet, they stay with their man no matter what. . . .

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 16:07:39 2019

Luckily for ebay, "there's a sucker born every minute" still holds true.

Luckier still...given the current education system, they're now SUPER suckers.

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 16:35:51 2019

@Toolguy

You are correct that Ebay is headed in that direction of never showing the Sellers Name as that is why they made all the Stores generic looking, and they even admitted that was coming.  As for no names on the shipping labels they will have no choice but to include it as USPS requires that information to be there in order to ship using online labels.  They require this so they can track back in case of a bomb threat or any other terrorist type activity.  That is also what started the weight limits on First Class Packages.

All of my shipments already have a packing slip and a notice on the items which identify what they purchased as well as having all of my selling IDs on it.  I also use Thank  You cards which in addition to having my thank you, also have all of my screen names by Selling Site so they can find me easier on the other sites and also lets them know my prices are usually cheaper on the other sites.  I see more and more people including something that has how to contact them outside of Ebay or on their own web pages.  I actually got the idea from one of their Mega Sellers who Ebay lets get away with murder and sits and watches while they continue poaching Ebays customers to their own websites by offering them a 10-20% discount on their first purchase, plus the prices are already lower than they are on ebay.  Target was doing all the time they were on Ebay until they finally kicked Ebay to the curb.  The book Mega Sellers were sending these discount coupons out disguised as bookmarks.  Then ebay wonders why their sales keep dropping and all they can come up with is it must be the small sellers because we have agreements with these megasellers and they would never violate an agreement, just like Ebay wouldn't violate their own TOS or other policies.

I also print out every invoice when i ship the item, since the Email address now is only available for 10 days.  I then input that information along with my sales into a spreadsheet for tax purposes but also to contact the Buyers in the future when I do leave Ebay so they can continue to find what they want.

Perminate Link for eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?   eBay RICO Lawsuit Meant to Curb Seller Exodus to Amazon?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 21:20:45 2019

''if you feel ABUSED by eBay why do you keep selling there?''

''Feel'' abused?  As opposed to actually abused?  Spoken as one who's eCom business acumen is exceeded only by their insensitivity to circumstances not allegedly experienced.

Really, is that the answer that's in the best interest of either the venue or the seller?  Take it or leave it?  Instead of acknowledging the issue, addressing it, maybe even (gasp!) correcting it?  At the very least, with something more dignified than 'tough tata's if you don't like it'.  Or is every concern defined simply bogus - not worthy of discussion?  

Doesn't your 'expertise' and 'sucessful experience in selling' include the knowledge that it is much more expensive to attract a new 'client' than it is to keep a current one?  Doesn't (even) your awareness of current events percieve that if eBay realized that, or cared, they wouldn't now be so desperate to stoop to effectively 'paying' for the hope to have new clueless sellers sign up?  What happened to the hordes just a'waitin' their chance to become so enamored and successful (snort) as you?

One thing that is factually undeniable though - folks who have 'had it' ARE history.  Along with their buying dollars, AND their buyer's buying dollars.  How is that a 'solution'?

Because that's the eBay way to 'fix' things - rid themselves of those noisy complaints by ridding themselves of the complainers.  Instead of addressing the reason for them.

Easier to be disrespectfully dismissive.  You find that in any way defensible, you're welcome to it.  


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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Aug 5 21:58:35 2019

@toolguy - I'm sure you are well aware that abused women stay with their abusers because in many cases they are jobless and have children, and need the abuser's money to live on. I would suspect the same is true of eBay sellers: they need the money they derive from eBay sales to pay the mortgage and buy food and other necessities. I imagine for many eBay sellers, starting their own website or moving to another marketplace is a very scary proposition. I quit eBay cold turkey (by the way, I love the commercial with the turkey who quits smoking "slow turkey"), and while I was apprehensive, I figured any confusion or frustration would be offset by the freedom from the anti-small seller policies that were on the horizon.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 5 22:14:56 2019

@SilverIceKing

"since the Email address now is only available for 10 days."

Actually it's 14 days

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by: Freeeeeeeee This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 12 06:25:31 2019

Amazon is the proverbial sheep in wolf's clothing.  Everyone should be concerned about their tactics.  Whether Mr W is up to the challenge....well I know where there might be replacement!!!!!😉

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This user has validated their user name. by: Working It

Mon Aug 12 14:08:19 2019

I have an Amazon Prime account, and it pays for itself because I take advantage of most of the Prime benefits, including Prime Video. Amazon carries products we need and can't find locally, and cost far more on eBay (or I would buy from eBay.) I had to laugh when reading @theivesbay's comment about how eBay is spamming buyers with messages. I receive at least one, if not three, "recommended for you" emails per day from Amazon.

I'll never sell on Amazon. If you believe that eBay is anti-small seller, it's nothing compared to Amazon. At least eBay doesn't notice when a product is selling well and use their buying power to get better wholesale prices, then compete with their own sellers by offering products at a lower price! eBay is the better choice for most small sellers, for many reasons.

I know too many people who are being purged from Amazon over the past several months, having been previously un-gated in categories, but now being locked out. In addition, they now have to pay to have their FBA products returned to them due to now being gated out of those categories.

In addition, unless you are purchasing items from the manufacturer and have the invoices to provide to Amazon, you must sell "new" items as "used" (i.e. retail arbitrage, overstock pallets, etc.) Amazon will allow sellers to send the items to FBA, then require the invoices before the listings go live.

No... I don't want eBay to fail, and I certainly don't want Amazon to get its hands on eBay. I do not like all of the changes that have been made over the past several years (particularly changes in search and promoted listings). OH... and Amazon also has promoted (sponsored) listings, so that's likely where DW got the idea.

Some of the changes made on eBay were actually GOOD. Holding sellers more accountable for shipping items within their stated handling time; describing items accurately and disclosing all defects. Just as getting a bad meal, or bad service in a restaurant will cause customers to never return... sellers who shipped "whenever", and those who didn't reveal defects for items caused eBay to lose a lot of buyers.    

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