eBay sues Amazon in a law suit filed this week after the accused Amazon and Amazon employees of purposefully opening eBay accounts in order to use eBay messages to solicit eBay sellers to become Amazon merchants.
On the 3rd of October eBay sent Amazon a Cease and Desist letter and in the court filing eBay states Amazon failed t0 confirm that it would cease and desist, and it did not provide any requested information.
There is little doubt that this has been going on for years according to Tamebay readers who were quick to recount instances where Amazon had tried to poach them through eBay.
The crux of eBay’s law suit is that Amazon employees opened eBay accounts for the sole purpose of using their messaging system. In some instances cited, messages were sent with the intention of poaching sellers within minutes of opening a new account from a device on an Amazon registered IP address. eBay’s User Agreement is clear that soliciting off-eBay sales is prohibited and messages were deliberately designed to get around eBay’s filters by spelling out website addresses, abbreviating the word Amazon to AMZ and breaking up phone numbers with dots between the digits to try and disguise them.
eBay sues Amazon on five counts
- Intentional interference with contractual relations
- Intentional interference with prospective economic relations
- Violation of California Penal Code § 502(c)
- Violation of California Business and Professions Code § 502(c)
What will Amazon have to disclose about merchants’ sales?
eBay are asking for all unlawful proceeds including an accounting of revenue derived from sellers recruited by Amazon through eBay messages. They are also asking for damages for lost revenue, punitive damages attorney’s fees and interest.
It’s the unlawful proceeds which are interesting as this will involve Amazon in disclosing sales figures by the merchants recruited through eBay messages. Amazon won’t like disclosing this type of information in public and certainly not to eBay. Whilst it’s possible to glean some information that’s publicly available, Amazon will have to disclose every penny of sellers revenues.
eBay have asked for trial by Jury in California. It’s possible Amazon may try to settle out of court in an effort to avoid disclosing proprietary information. It’s also possible that eBay might prefer to go to trial to embarrass Amazon even more than any financial settlement that might be offered.