Online powerhouse eBay has taken legal action against Amazon, alleging that the technology giant unlawfully enticed sellers away from its website.

In the suit, submitted filed Wednesday 17, 2018, in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, eBay declares “dozens” of Amazon sales associates all over the world made eBay accounts specifically to get in touch with and recruit “high-value” eBay sellers to Amazon. The suit declares these practices breached a California computer crime law and its own user agreement.

The suit comes 2 weeks after eBay reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to the tech giant, demanding Amazon knock off its supposed seller poaching efforts. The situation came to light “a few weeks ago” when an eBay seller stepped forward to report alleged poaching efforts by the giant firm, Amazon.

ebay lawsuit vs amazon

“Over the past several years, Amazon has perpetrated a scheme to penetrate and exploit eBay’s internal member e-mail system,” according to the lawsuit. “Amazon did this to recruit high-value eBay sellers to Amazon. The breadth and scope of Amazon’s conduct is startling. Since 2015, dozens of Amazon sales representatives in the United States and overseas set up eBay member accounts to access eBay’s M2M e-mail system and utilized that system to solicit many hundreds of eBay sellers to sell on Amazon’s platform.”

Amazon declined to comment on the lawsuit. When eBay’s cease-and-desist letter came to light, Amazon stated in a declaration that “we are performing a thorough investigation of these allegations.”

The suit alleges Amazon did not abide by the cease-and-desist letter and did not offer extra details asked for by eBay.

The Lawsuit (via Scribd)

“eBay brings this action because Amazon — unwilling to fairly compete for 3rd party seller business — instead has resorted to an orchestrated, coordinated, worldwide project, using eBay’s proprietary M2M system, to illegally lure eBay sellers to sell on Amazon. eBay seeks to stop Amazon’s unlawful scheme and to obtain redress for the damage it has caused.”

eBay and Amazon have competed for several years in the online shopping industry. Though the web giants differ a little– Amazon also directly sells items, while eBay does not– they both run big market businesses that depend on third-party sellers.

The lawsuit lays out how Amazon presumably got in touch with the sellers, breaking up phone numbers with periods and spelling out complete e-mail addresses. They did this, eBay declares, due to the fact that Amazon agents knew they were breaching eBay rules and sought to avoid getting detected.

“Rather than follow the guidelines, the representatives employed various techniques to prevent detection by eBay. They altered the presentation of Amazon e-mail addresses, for instance: ‘You can write me at jdoe AT amazon DOT com;’ ‘DoeJohn at Amazon dot com,’ and ‘JDoe at amazon dot com.’ They also provided unconventional telephone number formats, again, solely for the purpose of evading detection– telling eBay sellers, for instance, that ‘you can write down 2.0.6.– 5.5.5.– 5.5.5.5. and then delete this message if you so choose.”