February 25, 2021



Amazon prevails over eBay in lawsuit accusing Seattle company of poaching third-party sellers

eBay Photo

Amazon has prevailed over eBay in a lawsuit that accused the Seattle tech giant of poaching e-commerce sellers through eBay’s own messaging platform.

The dispute dates back more than two years. eBay filed two lawsuits – one in October 2018, and another in July 2019 – over alleged seller poaching. The first lawsuit, filed in California state court, only named Amazon as a defendant while the second, filed in federal court, included names of three Amazon managers.

Both suits moved to arbitration and were reviewed together. A panel found that while Amazon employees did breach contracts, eBay did not prove that it suffered damages. All of the company’s claims were denied.

Amazon declined to comment, and eBay did not respond to a GeekWire inquiry.

The July 2019 follows accused Amazon managers of participating in a scheme to train and encourages dozens of the company’s sales reps to poach eBay sellers. The suit alleged, “Amazon managers and others at Amazon directed dozens of Amazon sales representatives in the US and overseas to set up and use eBay member accounts to access eBay’s ‘M2M’ email system to solicit many hundreds of eBay sellers to sell on Amazon’s platform . ”

The suit accused the Amazon managers of racketeering, fraud, interfering in contractual relations, among other allegations. eBay asked a federal judge to bar Amazon from poaching eBay sellers, in addition to seeking financial damages.

The situation first came to light in 2018 after an eBay seller came forward to report alleged poaching efforts by Amazon. eBay then reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amazon, demanding that the company stop its alleged efforts to poach eBay sellers.

Although Amazon and eBay are two titans of e-commerce, they both approach the market differently, with much of Amazon’s business focusing on its own direct sales of products. However, the companies compete head-to-head with huge marketplace businesses that rely on third-party sellers.