EBay Demands Amazon Reveal Sales Haul From Alleged Poaching

(Bloomberg) -- EBay Inc. has demanded that Amazon.com Inc. reveal the sales gained in an alleged global multiyear operation to infiltrate EBay and lure merchants away to the e-commerce giant’s marketplace, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

In a letter dated Oct. 1, EBay requested that Amazon provide by Friday the names and addresses of Amazon representatives involved in the alleged multiyear scheme as well as sales from any EBay merchants that moved to Amazon as a result, suggesting an effort to assess damages for a potential lawsuit. The demands signal EBay could seek payment in court if the companies don’t resolve the matter.

EBay has accused Amazon of poaching sellers on its site around the world by infiltrating and using EBay’s member-to-member email system. The San Jose, California-based company said the alleged practice, first reported earlier this week, violates its terms of service as well as California’s Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

EBay hired the Los Angeles law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which specializes in international business disputes, to issue the demands of Amazon in a cease-and-desist letter about the alleged seller poaching.

Amazon said it is investigating the issue and declined further comment. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on EBay’s allegations.

EBay and Amazon are fierce competitors that rely on independent merchants who sell on their sites. Amazon has more customers, sales and faster growth than EBay, but some sellers prefer the EBay platform since it is a pure marketplace, meaning EBay doesn’t compete with its merchants for sales like Seattle-based Amazon. EBay also lets merchants communicate directly with customers and post email addresses and phone numbers on the site, while Amazon controls the overall shopping experience on its site and discourages merchants from communicating directly with shoppers.

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