eBay sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amazon this week, accusing its e-commerce rival of using eBay’s messaging platform to poach sellers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that eBay found 50 Amazon sales reps around the world who sent more than 1,000 messages to eBay sellers. In the cease-and-desist letter sent on Monday, eBay accuses Amazon of violating a California computer crime law and its own user agreement.
The Journal reported that Amazon reps avoided detection by staying generic and using hyphens and periods to describe Amazon, according to eBay’s allegations.
“We have uncovered an unlawful and troubling scheme on the part of Amazon to solicit eBay sellers to move to Amazon’s platform,” eBay said in a statement. “We have demanded that Amazon end its unlawful activity and we will take the appropriate steps, as needed, to protect eBay.”
In a statement sent to GeekWire, Amazon said “we are conducting a thorough investigation of these allegations.”
Amazon and eBay have competed for years in the online shopping industry. Though the tech giants differ slightly — Amazon sells its own products, while eBay does not — they both run huge marketplace businesses that rely on third-party sellers.
eBay CEO Devin Wenig is slated to speak at the GeekWire Summit on Wednesday morning in Seattle, so stay tuned for his comments on this story.