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Ebay accuses Amazon of ‘unlawfully’ poaching sellers

Online marketplace Ebay has accused rival website Amazon of attempting to poach independent sellers from its site using “unlawful and troubling” methods.

Over a number of years in numerous countries, including the UK, Ebay alleges that 50 Amazon employees have been using eBay’s seller messaging platform to encourage sellers to migrate to the Amazon Marketplace. An eBay user alerted the company to the existence of messages 10 days ago, and following an investigation, the site says it discovered more than 1,000 messages to sellers.

It alleges Amazon attempted to disguise its identity by using the usernames ‘a-m-a-z-o-n’ or ‘A.M.Z.N’, and that the company also spelled out email addresses and suggested offline contact to avoid being flagged by algorithms.

Ebay said it has sent a cease and desist letter to Amazon, alleging it has breached California’s Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

In a statement it said: “We have uncovered an unlawful and troubling scheme on the part of Amazon to solicit Ebay sellers to move to Amazon’s platform. We have demanded that Amazon end its unlawful activity and we will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect Ebay.”

Amazon told Retail Sector: “We are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations.”

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