Who owns eBay? Massachusetts couple sues auction company, claims it conspired against them

David and Ina Steiner accused eBay of conspiring through its employees to 'intimidate, threaten to kill, torture them' for criticizing them in their newsletter

                            Who owns eBay? Massachusetts couple sues auction company, claims it conspired against them
(Photo by Kurt Vinion/Getty Images)

David and Ina Steiner of Natick, Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit against online auction company eBay Inc after a harassment campaign was launched against them for criticizing the business in their newsletter. The 12-count federal civil suit was filed by the couple on July 21 where they've claimed the company's harassment against them began in August 2019. eBay's executive employee James Baugh from San Jose, California along with co-conspirator David Harville from New York was indicted in the US District Court in Boston on two counts each of stalking through interstate travel and stalking through facilities of interstate commerce. They were harassing the said couple.

In related news about e-commerce companies being sued, Amazon was accused by a Black manager Charlotte Newman who claimed she was allegedly underpaid and mistreated by a former and two current executives. Newman, who held a senior managerial position sued the e-commerce giant for alleged racial and gender discrimination and pay disparity. Amazon also came under the scanner for inhumane conditions that warehouse workers are forced to work in with very low remuneration. Natalie Monarrez came forward with her story alleging she had been living in her car at the warehouse's parking lot in New York since 2019, ate at nearby joints, and was forced to make do with antibacterial wipes when finding a bathroom was not possible. As a full-time ship dock worker for Amazon, she earned $19 which was $4 more than NYC's minimum wage but it wasn't enough to fulfill all her expenses. Read her story here


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Who owns eBay?

Pierre Omidyar is the founder of eBay. He found the company in 1995 and currently he serves on the company's board. In 2002, the company bought online payment company PayPal and Omidyar owns 5% of eBay and 6% of PayPal currently, according to Forbes. However, he hasn't been named in the conspiracy case. Apart from Baugh and Harville, others involved include Philip Cooke, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Veronica Zea, and Stephanie Stockell. They all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. They all banded together against victims David and Ina, the editors and publishers of an online newsletter, EcommerceBytes that had posted a negative article about eBay. The complex harassment scheme began after executive team members took offense and authorities said it was Baugh who began conspiring against the Steiners.

The Steiners accused the auction company of conspiring through its employees and contractors to “intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, stalk and silence them” for their reporting in the newsletter, EcommerceBytes. They claimed to be psychologically damaged after anonymous deliveries such as a bloody pig mask was sent to their house, and online ads were placed, designed to send strangers to their home for sex parties. “The Steiners were paralyzed with fear,” according to the lawsuit.

“The unrelenting stream of threats to kill, disturbing deliveries, as well as the physical surveillance, caused the Steiners to suffer from significant and continuing emotional distress, including but not limited to, anxiety, panic attacks, persistent and debilitating concerns about their physical safety, habitual insomnia, embarrassment, humiliation, shame and perpetual fear that they are being followed and tracked, all of which suffering continues now and will continue in the future.”

eBay has decided to cooperate with prosecutors in this case. “The misconduct of these former employees was wrong, and we will do what is fair and appropriate to try to address what the Steiners went through. We are very sorry for what they endured," the company said about the lawsuit.

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