eBay accuses Amazon of poaching sellers [Updated]

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eBay has sent Amazon a legal letter known a cease and desist notice alleging that the latter’s staff have been contacting eBay merchants with the aim of getting them to defect. It is alleged that the Amazon staff have communicated with eBay sellers via the eBay My Messages internal communications system.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, eBay accuses Amazon of poaching sellers in a letter sent earlier this week requiring them to stop the alleged recruitment via eBay’s own systems. Apparently roughly 50 Amazon sales representatives across the world have sent more than 1,000 messages to eBay merchants. The WSJ has seen the letter but the full text isn’t currently available.

We can confirm that 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 will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect eBay.
– eBay spokeperson

If this does indeed turn out to be an accurate accusation, then it does seem like a rather low grade attempt at recruiting sellers. Not least because merchant business details are freely available on eBay item descriptions and it would be relatively easy to compile a prospects list using that public information rather than going through My Messages.

And it is slightly surprising that Amazon needs to actively recruit sellers at all when one would expect merchants to independently beat a path to their Seattle front door. Perhaps, the targets are in specific verticals or niches where Amazon seeks to expand the merchandise on offer to shoppers.

Amazon has yet to make a comment on the letter or the allegations.

Have you been approached in this way? If so, please do contact us (in complete confidence). It seems certain we shall write about this again.

Updated 04/10/18: “We are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations.” – Amazon spokesperson.

18 Responses

  1. Amazon are still selling the fire tv for $69.99 and they should stop selling it because the new fire tv stick has better specifications than the fire tv which is $20 more.

    An example: the new fire stick has a 1.7 processor where as the fire tv has a 1.5 processor where with this the fire stick will be faster than the fire tv.

  2. Unless eBay are going to match or improve on PayPals current merchant rates then this move is bad for sellers, simple as!

    Knowing how eBay have implemented returns, seller standards and other policies this will no doubt be a half assed payment system with eBay doing a smash and grab.

    I will only be moving when mandatory. It’s my only way to protest. Hopefully it happens in volumes if eBay don’t offer a fair system and rate.

  3. eBay do far more to drive sellers to Amazon than Amazon poach sellers IMO.

    Every stupid new rule change makes me more determined to commit more to selling on Amazon and leave eBay behind.

  4. This is a very unfortunate scenario. I have been a long time seller on Ebay for 16 years and sold over $30 million on Ebay. I sell estate jewelry and condition is always subjective as it is used and we get 8-10% returns and 5% are opened up as not as described as the buyer goes to their jeweler and the local jeweler is not happy about business being removed locally so they tear it apart and state it needs repair or that the item is not that great, etc. No way to get out of this one no matter what changes I make to my site…just have to go back to selling at shows again. Everytime I see a return request it just makes me cringe now…before…no problem as I understand buying from the internet has challenges 🙂 This is the cost of doing business and we are still paying shipping both ways per Ebay which is huge. There is incentive to do the best we can to describe in the best of detail the items we sell as we are still paying all shipping BOTH WAYS…but this 4% additional is too much. I wrote a very nice, respectful letter to the CEO and had a customer service Ebay rep call me a few days later and basically tell me there was nothing he could do. I really thought someone like myself with the amount of sales would get an executive response. Makes me sad…as I sure love Ebay and all they have done for me and my family…but, this is too costly now…and I thought Ebay was trying to increase sales and revenue but, this slam of an increase is too much. No one would complain of a simple 1% increase for everyone…and if there is a person that is a habitual trouble maker on Ebay…then they need to be removed from Ebay. But, this is a revenue escalator by Ebay and a costly one. I have needed a reason to retire…this is it. Sure makes me sad and this is so unfortunate as I love Ebay…but this is too much and too costly to good people and sellers.

  5. Happened on an account I worked on about 5-6 years ago. Amazon called and offered the Red Carpet Scheme to put all of the eBay products on Amazon at once, only condition was they wanted at least 400 products.

    Gave us an account manager and also guided us through the initial upload of products. Company weren’t selling online on any other platform at the time.

    It does happen.

  6. 5-6 years ago, I was email contacted by an Amazon rep. “We want your products over at Amazon” and was offered 1 months free subscription to get me started. I was only selling on Ebay at that time.

  7. Maybe if ebay were providing a excellent marketplace that sellers could trust then they would not need to worry about the competition.

  8. Customs checks are my worst nightmare, people just do not wait these days. So much of my biz is built on selling into the EU. The domestic market is just dead right now and margins nearly non existent.
    This is just around the corner now also.

  9. Well, are you surprised there are so many Chinese sellers on Ebay, when the Board Of Directors said that ” China Sellers Were The Future Of Ebay “

  10. I have noticed in my category that the number of Chinese sellers, claiming to be in the UK has doubled over the last year.

    We now get sellers asking questions about the product and saying the real reason for asking the question was to see if you were really a Chinese seller trying to mislead that the goods are in the UK.

    Soon the Chinese I feel will take over most categories on eBay as they can charge such low prices, in some cases they are selling for less than we can get them into the UK. They also add messages on their listings saying they will under value the goods to avoid the buyer paying duty on the item. We pay all the duties so can’t compete with this kind of practice.

  11. I totally agree with what Sue says above – “I think that this is a very bad move on ebays part as they will inevitably lose a lot of business from sellers who will probably go elsewhere to sell their items. I like the fact that my money goes into my paypal account so that I can build up it up before transferring it to my bank account. I do not want it to go straight into my bank account. I also understand that ebay will be the ones to benefit from this change. I am very disappointed by this situation as I have been with ebay for some years now and I am sure that I am not the only one”

    I also build up funds in my paypal account and use them to buy items mostly from ebay. Without that pot of money I WONT BE BUYING FROM EBAY.

  12. Amazon will eventually figure out how to add vintage items to their platform . At that point eBay will lose all its sellers and it will crash and burn! eBay should treat their sellers better and focus on what made them unique. Most vintage sellers I believe would jump at a chance to be with amazon , eBay is too much nonsense for the honest seller

  13. I wonder if they will want to have the 2% added to their own grocery shopping to drive more to Lidl and Aldi.

    They didn’t seem as concerned when they arived locally with their out of town superstore and started selling shoes and slippers and clothing etc etc etc.
    Now the high street is fairly baron.
    Of course, not just down to Tesco, but Every little helps!!!

  14. Tracking for my orders is uploaded automatically every night and makes absolutely no difference if buyers claim INR – still got to go through the same performance, even have to give the tracking info again! It is purely to track late deliveries – even when closed for holiday and the customer orders in advance knowing you’re away till such a date, eBay punish you for dispatching late!

  15. I had Amazon contact me several times offering the red carpet treatment to switch over my ebay listings to amazon , I declined several times and then they offered the service where someone in India did all of the work transferring the listings and an account manager etc so eventually I went for it .It was ok for about 18 months sales were getting better then out of the blue and with no reason as I was within their metrics I was suspended with them holding over £10,000 for 3 months ,which nearly crippled my business. There was no way of talking to anyone , an appeal process that was useless and when you have no idea what you are appealing against is meaningless and that took weeks to get a response to . The items were all totally legitimate and now all of them are being sold on Amazon by Amazon from their own warehouses .

  16. @gerry007 you are wrong the grass is Greener in so far as sales are 3x more, but apart from that customer service is as bad as eBay.

    @Hunter I have had better CS at Amazon (at times) than eBay but like eBay it is hit-&miss depending on who you get.

    @john eBay, Paypal, Aden & Amazon all have the power to control your payouts and once there is a problem it is hard to get it resolved.

    Bottom line is if you really on market places you will get F*****! at some point, they are in it for themselves, not you.

    The sooner people go out and do their own thing the better, not easy but what is your back-up plan?

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