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EBay apologizes after six of it’s executives are charged with cyberstalking and harassment

Kika Angelic

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If you believe that I (Kika Angelic) am the only prolific seller community member who was cruelly abused by the highest position executives of a tech giant company, read this article which contains the press release of the US Department of Justice.

I am currently fighting for a resolution of my own case using all possible means, while having the law enforcement in the UK and US involved, here you can read my story in a brief:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-victim-of-cyberbullying-on-Amazon-site

This eBay seller and blogger couple had to go through a hell after a cabal of eBay executives started targeting them in a campaign of harassment and cyberstalking and after a year, they finally managed to achieve justice and a public apology from eBay.

BY: Department of Justice Press Release
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 15, 2020

Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking Campaign Targeting Natick Couple

BOSTON – Six former employees of eBay, Inc. have been charged with leading a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company. The alleged harassment included sending the couple anonymous, threatening messages, disturbing deliveries – including a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a bloody pig mask – and conducting covert surveillance of the victims.

David Harville, 48, of New York City, eBay’s former Director of Global Resiliency, was arrested this morning in New York City on the same charges and will make an initial appearance via videoconference in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

James Baugh, 45, of San Jose, Calif., eBay’s former Senior Director of Safety & Security, was arrested today and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

[documentcloud url=”https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6945151-USA-v-BAUGH-HARVILLE.html”]

In addition the following defendants were charged in an Information unsealed today: Stephanie Popp, 32, of San Jose, eBay’s former Senior Manager of Global Intelligence; Stephanie Stockwell, 26, of Redwood City, Calif., the former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC); Veronica Zea, 26, of San Jose, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the GIC; and Brian Gilbert, 51, of San Jose, a former Senior Manager of Special Operations for eBay’s Global Security Team. They are each charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and will make appearances in federal court in Boston at a later date.

According to the charging documents, the victims of the cyberstalking campaign were a Natick couple who are the editor and publisher of an online newsletter that covers ecommerce companies, including eBay, a multinational ecommerce business that offers platforms for consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer transactions. Members of the executive leadership team at eBay followed the newsletter’s posts, often taking issue with its content and the anonymous comments underneath the editor’s stories.

It is alleged that in August 2019, after the newsletter published an article about litigation involving eBay, two members of eBay’s executive leadership team sent or forwarded text messages suggesting that it was time to “take down” the newsletter’s editor.

In response, Baugh, Harville, Popp, Gilbert, Zea, Stockwell, and others allegedly executed a three-part harassment campaign. Among other things, several of the defendants ordered anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home, including a preserved fetal pig, a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography – the last of these addressed to the newsletter’s publisher but sent to his neighbors’ homes.

As part of the second phase of the campaign, some of the defendants allegedly sent private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick. The documents allege that Baugh, Gilbert, Popp and another eBay security employee planned these messages to become increasingly disturbing, culminating with “doxing” the victims (i.e., publishing their home address). It is alleged that the very same group intended then to have Gilbert, a former Santa Clara police captain, approach the victims with an offer to help stop the harassment that the defendants were secretly causing, in an effort to promote good will towards eBay, generate more favorable coverage in the newsletter, and identify the individuals behind the anonymous comments.

The third phase of the campaign allegedly involved covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community. According to the complaint, Harville and Zea registered for a software development conference to explain their trip to Boston on Aug. 15, 2019. Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly drove to the victims’ home in Natick several times, with Harville and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims’ garage and install a GPS tracking device on their car. As protection in the event they were stopped by local police, Baugh and Harville allegedly carried false documents purporting to show that they were investigating the victims as “Persons of Interest” who had threatened eBay executives. The victims spotted the surveillance, however, and notified the Natick police, who began to investigate. The police learned that Zea had rented one of the cars used by the defendants and reached out to eBay for assistance.

Aware that the police were investigating, the defendants allegedly sought to interfere with the investigation by lying to the police about eBay’s involvement while pretending to offer the company’s assistance with the harassment, as well as by lying to eBay’s lawyers about their involvement. At one point, for example, Baugh, Gilbert, Popp, and Stockwell allegedly plotted to fabricate another eBay “Person of Interest” document that could be offered to the police as a lead on some of the harassing deliveries. As the police and eBay’s lawyers continued to investigate, the defendants allegedly deleted digital evidence that showed their involvement, further obstructing what had by then become a federal investigation.

The charges of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses each carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Natick Chief of Police James G. Hicks made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth B. Kosto and David J. D’Addio of Lelling’s Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Link to Press Release on Department of Justice website.

Here you can read and download the full legal case:

Apologetic statement about the matter from eBay can be found on their website:

Link to statement on the eBayInc.com website.

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OnBuy shares latest news

Kika Angelic

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In their latest marketplace newsletter, OnBuy shared what they have new.

Unlike Amazon, OnBuy strives to never compete with independent retailers, according to their statement:

“We’re determined to change the way consumers view online marketplaces, and that starts with our fair approach and commitment to you, our retailers. We vow never to compete with you but to treat you as equal partners and provide the best environment for you to grow.”

They were also working on VAT compliance.

“If this change is applicable to you, you’ll notice this reflected in the ‘VAT collected’ column on the orders page and also in reports on the VAT collected for orders.”

OnBuy further shared the list of their upcoming events:

Garden & Outdoors is a big focus over the coming months, covering everything from gardening and furniture to camping and outdoor sports. 

Searches for all things garden started climbing in March, with high demand for garden storage, gardening products and garden furniture expected in late April – May.

We’ve also got promotional pushes planned around Father’s Day (from w/c 16th May), the Queen’s Jubilee (from w/c 9th May), summer bedding (from w/c 30th May) and travel/holidays (from June). 

Here you can view the whole OnBuy newsletter:

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

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Etsy increases their selling fees

Kika Angelic

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This week, Etsy announced an increase of their transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%. Similarly to Amazon, they have done so in a form of a ”feel-good” positive announcement titled “Investing in Etsy’s growth: A message from CEO Josh Silverman”.

The whole notice starts with celebration of success of Etsy sellers and a mention of recorded increase of sales by 23%. It then proceeds to mention that selling fees are getting increased.

Etsy justifies the increase by saying that they invested into marketing, enforcing bad actors and improving customer support.

Here is a copy of the full announcement:

Dear Seller Community,

At Etsy, we’re focused on building a marketplace that allows sellers like you to turn your creativity and passions into real, money-making businesses. Last year, active sellers increased their sales by 23% on average compared to 2019, and in 2021 alone, we showed more than 90 million active buyers worldwide that there’s an alternative to big-box, automated shopping.

Together, we’ve made Etsy the global marketplace for unique and creative goods.

We plan to make significant investments in marketing, seller tools, and creating a world-class customer experience so we can continue this tremendous growth. To support this goal, on April 11 we will increase our current 5% transaction fee to 6.5%

This change will allow us to make improvements in three key areas: Bringing more buyers to Etsy: Last year, we spent nearly $600 million on marketing. This year we’ll be investing even more, including on TV commercials, influencers and tastemakers, billboards, podcast advertising, and email marketing that bring new buyers to Etsy. 

The support you need: We’ll grow our support team by more than 20% this year so you can get help more quickly and easily, including faster email responses, expanded access to live chat, and prioritization of your most urgent requests. 

Keeping Etsy unique: We’ll build on last year’s roughly $40 million investment in the teams and technology that help make our marketplace a safe and secure destination for handmade, vintage, and special items. This year we’ll expand our efforts to remove listings that don’t meet our policies and help you resolve issues with buyers. 

These are some of the great things we’ll invest in to keep Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace. We don’t take fee changes lightly, and we believe that these investments will enable Etsy, and our seller community, to continue to grow.

Thank you for making Etsy a one-of-a-kind marketplace. 

There is also a banner with the announcement published at the top of Etsy’s home page:

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

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Etsy apologizes for erroneously issued refunds

Kika Angelic

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Today, Etsy informed their sellers by e-mail that numerous refunds were erroneously issued to buyers as a part of a site-wide technical difficulty.

Affected sellers were provided with specific orders, for which refunds were issued and advised not to take any action, because Etsy is addressing the matter with buyers and the company is covering all refunds out of their own funds.

Orders, for which full refunds were mistakenly issued are still showing as paid in Orders & Shipping dashboard.

Here is a copy of the e-mail wording from Etsy:

Hello there,

We’re getting in touch to share an update about one of your recent orders. Earlier this week, we discovered that a small number of Etsy buyers unintentionally received a refund. This includes the customer who placed this order with you: 7689803251

Please note that the funds you received for that order, €17.5, are still visible in your financial activity as well as added to your balance like any other sale. Etsy is covering the cost of this order. If you’re still working on the order, you should fulfill it as planned. If you already shipped the order, there’s nothing to worry about—the funds you received are yours to keep.

If your customer reaches out about the accidental refund, you can reassure them that we’re aware of the issue and that they’ll receive an email from Etsy with more details soon.

Thanks for being part of the Etsy community!

Here is a screenshot of the e-mail:

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

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