Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 28 2022 19:46:45

A Special Message for EcommerceBytes Readers

By: Ina Steiner

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It's the evening of September 28. David and I are getting ready to drive to the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston tomorrow to tell a judge how we were impacted by two men who confessed this year to cyberstalking and surveilling us in 2019.

The presiding Judge will also hear from prosecutors and the two defendants themselves - the 6th and 7th former eBay employees charged in the case thus far - before she announces their sentences. Having been at the hearing of the first defendant sentenced last year, we know it's an emotional and somber time for every person in the room.

We will make at least two more trips into Boston this fall to tell a judge how four other defendants upended our lives and impacted our business before he sentences them.

When the US Attorney announced the arrests of the two high-level eBay security executives on June 15, 2020, he did not name the victims, but people quickly figured out that I am "Victim 1" and David is "Victim 2." It still feels surreal and painful to write those words.

Five of the seven people the government charged in 2020 pled guilty, but these two defendants were scheduled to go to trial on May 31, 2022. During the lengthy discovery phase of the criminal case, made longer due to Covid, we learned more about the defendants and their unindicted coconspirators and much more about how eBay responded to the government's investigation.

If you've been an EcommerceBytes reader for any length of time, you can imagine that under normal circumstances I would be reporting on it extensively. After all, we've been covering ecommerce and online marketplaces for over 20 years. But through no fault of my own, I was part of the story and found myself a "victim witness" who might have to testify.

It's been particularly difficult to watch others write about the case and fail to address corporate responsibility. 

While we were spared the ordeal of the May trial, we were deprived of the information that would have come out during the proceedings. We believe everyone who played a role should be held accountable.

Last year David and I brought a civil RICO case against those we believe were responsible for the criminal campaign, including former eBay CEO Devin Wenig, CCO Steve Wymer, and eBay itself. While it was a difficult decision, we firmly believe it was the right thing to do.

We still have many questions, the answers to which would help us heal and possibly regain some trust we've lost. We can only continue to try to do what feels right and what is best for us, our families, friends and neighbors, and readers.

In June 2020, so many of you reached out with messages of support. Even a year later when David and I went back and re-read them, it was emotional. Many of you offered prayers and told us how much our efforts have helped you over the years. At a very vulnerable time, your support meant so much to us and continues to do so. At some point in the future, we hope to be able to share much more about the ordeal.

I hope you'll continue to send your positive energy, particularly this week. 

As always, thanks for reading.



Comments (45) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 20:24:02 2022

You guys have all of our support - always

eBay has ROUGHLY $5 billion sitting offshore (down from 9 - they spent it all on free perks for employees and payouts to WS) - please help yourself to as much as you can.

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by: oldglassman This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 28 22:22:35 2022

Every day I read EcommerceBytes for what is going on eBay. I am a long time seller that has been on eBay since 1997. I have rarely posted but today I have to offer a few words. You and David have my thoughts and prayers. I wish you both the very best. The actions of eBay thru their employees speaks volumes about what they think about people outside their company. EBay should understand that EcommerceBytes and their readers support the success of the whole marketplace eBay included. Thanks for everything you and David have done. Truth will win in the end.

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by: Bruce Hershenson This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 00:25:05 2022

I guess there have been more outrageous cases of corporate criminality, but I don't know of any.

This is that rare case where NO award can be enough to even partially compensate both of you for your suffering, and obviously anyone at eBay with the slightest knowledge of what was done should be in prison.

My heart goes out to both of you, and hope that on the day this finally comes to a final decision, that right will be done.

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by: Nothingnewecrater This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 00:35:08 2022

You have helped so many make the best decisions working eBay. And I'm sure everyone that reads this site feels the same. We vendors jumped through hoop after hoop just to try and stay in business. Many of us have left eBay. Everyone gets a turn that reaches their breaking point.when enough is enough of all the games just to make a few bucks. I hope you can take enough from them that they feel the pain. And not just from people going to jail either.

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by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 02:16:17 2022

I wish only the best for you and David. I am sorry that you became a victim of corporate collusion and abuse of powers.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 29 02:23:24 2022

From the moment I heard about this story I was so upset I could not express it very well how I felt about it verbally or even imagine what this did to Ina and David personally and professionally.  Some of the things I'm aware of [and I'm sure there is plenty I'm not aware of]  I could have never dreamt someone doing to another human being.

My hope is that Ina and David get whatever it is that they need to get out of this process so they can heal and feel this chapter is at an end so they can move forward.  Whatever that looks like is what I want for them as they certainly deserve it.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 03:36:25 2022

Personally painful, and due compensation, no question.  About much more than that, though, still being questioned.  

This ‘story’, can not be told enough.  Because it is still being written, every day when eBay (and their peers) try to apply their corporately entrenched, morally bereft and legally teetering ‘leave them as dried husks’ approach to business, and then cover that with more disregard for law and morality with some action that one of their “thinking days” begets to try and muffle the “noise” of protest or rebuttal.  

And what they did to the Steiners, they did to us all - still do, in different ways, every day.  No remorse. “It’s the cost of doing business”.

That’s personal.  It hurts.  It robs.  It quashes. It’s frightening.  Whatever they think they can get away with, it still happens, every day.  There’s a bigger backstory to this, still being told.  And it NEEDS to be told.  And HEARD.

May this episode serve to wake up more to it all.  And God Bless those with the courage to offer a place to tell the truth to power in the face of such disdain.  

Make them hear you.  Make them hear us all.

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by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 04:56:44 2022

I have been religiously reading your helpful blog for over a decade now. It has helped me deal with the psychological effects of trying to make a living via eBay. When I first read your story I thought I was reading a Stephen King novel. I still find it hard to understand the sheer arrogance of all those involved in terrorizing a couple who were reporting on a rogue corporation.

I hope you are justly compensated for your suffering at the hands of eBay's henchmen. I dream of Wenig & Wyner standing trial as their arrogance makes me feel physically unwell.

The significance of this case can never be overstated. Thanks for having the strength and will to do battle with these dinosaurs and continue to report with honesty and integrity. I hope you will both be rewarded for your courage. I just hope you don't give up this blog or sell it to someone else but I certainly wouldn't blame you if you do.  

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 06:47:45 2022

Dear Ina and David,  

Once I found your site, (via reference from an ebay seller comm. boards) it was on of the greatest relief from the corporate abuse, and gas lighting from paid members from ebay, and etsy forums.

You are truly Hero's to me for the stand you take on fairness in business practices.
Your website has brought in so many others who have shared and suffered the same sentiment of executives and their abusive mentality.
To me your site also provides to be a safe haven to gripe about business malpractices (as I often do).  I have also found support in the great numbers that come here to share the same feelings.
I am generally a very nice person to a fault.
But when I see or am a victim of such behavior from underserving people, then it brings out the men green posting Hulk.

Thank You Steiner's for all the tireless work you have done for your readers.
Thank You for THIS sincere message, it proves again how personal the owners of their news writers feel about the people they have genuinely helped in our hard times.
Thanks also to the posters here (and those who don't), much of the same support comes from you as well.  To me, you make up as much of this website as the original writers themselves, and again, it is very comforting and supporting.

Very best of luck to you Steiner's, I hope you get the ruling you are looking for.
I hope you get closure and satisfaction for the abuses you suffered, a win for You is also a win for Us.
 

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by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 08:29:20 2022

My heart goes out to you both. My main concern is that you both manage your healing process as best as possible. Your work is invaluable to the community. Stay strong.  

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by: Queen of the Jungle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 09:03:48 2022

Dear Ina and David,

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all that you have done for our online community for all these years.

Not only have you provided us with decades worth of valuable information and support, but most importantly you have stood up for the First Amemdment and free speech.   This is probably the only forum I know of where I am still allowed to say "bad things" about Etsy, Ebay and the other e-commerce giants.

I don't think my posts have ever been censored and judging from some of the others that appear on these pages, I think that you allow pretty much anything in the comments, with few exceptions.   Certainly, you have published some pretty strong statements by sellers from these platforms which is more than I can say for even social media groups like FB.

I believe that the powers that be at Ebay could not stand the idea that your readers were outing their innermost secrets about how badly they treat the sellers on their platform.   Likewise, I'm sure that Etsy would try to shut you down as well but they didn't have the kind of criminals on their board as does Ebay.

I commend you and your family for your courage and integrity in standing up to these corporate gangsters.   There are not many in your position who would be so brave and steadfast.

Please know that your loyal readers like myself support you and keep you in our prayers.   If there is anything that I can do to be of assistance, you know how to get in touch.

Thanks again and God bless you.

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by: MIscetal This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 09:12:19 2022

Thank you for your work - and for your determination to speak truth to corrupt power.

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by: Valaset This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 09:38:16 2022

Write a book.  Expose everything that happened.  Name names...

Yes, I know that can't happen until all the court cases are done.  But that is the best way to tell the entire story...

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 09:41:30 2022

You folks are 2 of the nicest people I have come to know in my 25 years of online selling. The incident is one of the most outrageous I have ever read concerning a major corporation and I hope you guys end up owning the company. Best to you always

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by: Timmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 11:01:18 2022

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.

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by: Amazedstilldazed This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 11:14:28 2022

Thanks for all of your very hard work for all of us. We will all be thinking about you & praying for justice.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 29 11:21:14 2022

"Last year David and I brought a civil RICO case against those we believe were responsible for the criminal campaign, including former eBay CEO Devin Wenig, CCO Steve Wymer, and eBay itself. While it was a difficult decision, we firmly believe it was the right thing to do."

I am really glad that you took brought this civil case.  Somehow these C-suite executives appeared to have dodged any accountability.   I am still a bit gobsmacked at how most of the main stream press seemed to ignore this story.

I think that you know that you have your readers' support.  Thank you for all that you have done for us for all of these years.  I honestly don't know what we would do without you.  

You know that a company culture is pretty bad when they stoop to such devious actions.  Those responsible truly show us who they are.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 29 11:41:44 2022

What Pace stated.

Ina and David, I wish you all the best for all the good you do for online sellers. All the reports on not only eBay, but Etsy, Amazon and others, is so helpful to running our businesses.

After you get eBay's billions, maybe you can start your own online marketplace.

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by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 11:50:14 2022

I hope you get a just settlement. You represent all of the online sellers who have been treated unfairly by online platforms.
It would be great if you could do a long form interview with Joe Rogan or another Podcaster once the legal matters are finalized.
Whatever happens I hope it causes Ebay enough pain so the other ecommerce platforms take notice. These companies jack up their fees and on top of rising shipping fees it becomes harder to make a profit and remain competitive. Most sites direct you to messaging with a bot which is infuriating. As much as they make they should have skilled customer service people and do a better job at addressing scams.
Thanks to inflation more and more people sell online just to pay bills.
Now more than ever your site is indispensable for new or veteran sellers to find out the truth and read about similar experiences of other resellers.
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for all you do and having the courage to stand up to Ebay.
Kind regards,
Barbara

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 29 12:02:56 2022

Ina and David, Stay strong. Thank you for all you have done,

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