Couple Sues eBay Over Roaches and Other Harassment

David, Ina Steiner say company was trying to 'stifle their reporting on eBay'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2021 4:40 PM CDT
Couple Sues eBay Over Alleged Conspiracy to 'Torture' Them
In this July 11, 2019 file photo, an eBay app is shown on a mobile phone in Miami.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

A Massachusetts couple subjected to threats and other bizarre harassment from former eBay employees filed a civil lawsuit against the Silicon Valley giant on Wednesday. David and Ina Steiner say in their lawsuit filed in Boston federal court that the company engaged in a conspiracy to "intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, stalk, and silence them" in order to "stifle their reporting on eBay." The Natick residents, who run EcommerceBytes, an online newsletter focused on the e-commerce industry, say they were subjected to cyberstalking, death threats, bizarre deliveries, and in-person surveillance from company workers. They're seeking damages to be awarded by a jury. "This has been an unbelievably difficult ordeal for my wife and I," David Steiner said. "Never did we imagine doing our jobs as journalists would lead to this."

In a statement Wednesday, eBay apologized to the couple and stressed that it fully cooperated with authorities during their inquiry: "The misconduct of these former employees was wrong ... the events from 2019 should never have happened, and as eBay expressed to the Steiners, we are very sorry for what they endured." Several former eBay employees were charged last June for their roles in the harassment campaign. At least five have already pleaded guilty. Federal prosecutors have said the harassment included anonymous deliveries of items like live insects, a funeral wreath, and a bloody pig face Halloween mask to the couple's home. The AP reports the employees also sent pornographic magazines with the husband's name on it to their neighbor's house.

(Read more harassment stories.)

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