This major corporation must pay $3 million after employees sent out spiders and cockroaches to customers

Jan 25, 2024

Usually when companies get complaints, they at least attempt to placate the customer in some way.

And the better companies will take measures to fix the problems.

But this major corporation must pay $3 million after employees sent out spiders and cockroaches to customers.

Online commerce and auction site eBay will be paying $3 million to make right criminal charges brought against them.

Cockroaches, spiders, and fetal pigs

The charges were filed after several former employees sent cockroaches, spiders, and even a fetal pig to a Massachusetts couple who criticized the company in 2019 through a newsletter.

As reported in Blaze Media, “The online retail and auction giant was charged with two counts of stalking through interstate travel, two counts of stalking by electronic communications services, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.”

As a result of the charges, eBay has agreed to pay the $3 million penalty, which is the maximum that can be fined for the six felonies. 

The company will also have to retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for three years and make major changes to its compliance policy.

“eBay engaged in absolutely horrific, criminal conduct. The company’s employees and contractors involved in this campaign put the victims through pure hell, in a petrifying campaign aimed at silencing their reporting and protecting the eBay brand,” Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy said.

“We left no stone unturned in our mission to hold accountable every individual who turned the victims’ world upside-down through a never-ending nightmare of menacing and criminal acts. The investigation led to felony convictions for seven individuals, all former eBay employees or contractors, and the ringleader was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison,” Levy added.

“Today’s criminal resolution with the company imposes the maximum fine that the law allows under the statutes, holding eBay accountable for a corporate culture that led to this unprecedented stalking campaign,” Levy continued.

“The corporate monitoring of eBay will be in place for the next three years and will ensure that eBay’s senior leadership sets a tone that makes compliance with the law paramount, implements safeguards to prevent future criminal activity, and makes clear to every eBay employee that the idea of terrorizing innocent people and obstructing investigations will not be tolerated,” Levy concluded.

Conduct that was “wrong and reprehensible”

eBay released a statement from Jamie Iannone, eBay’s CEO about the case, saying, “The company’s conduct in 2019 was wrong and reprehensible.” 

“From the moment eBay first learned of the 2019 events, eBay cooperated fully and extensively with law enforcement authorities. We continue to extend our deepest apologies to the Steiners for what they endured. Since these events occurred, new leaders have joined the company and eBay has strengthened its policies, procedures, controls, and training. eBay remains committed to upholding high standards of conduct and ethics and to making things right with the Steiners,” the statement added.

eBay also admitted that from August 5 to August 23, 2019, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, as well as six other members of the team, targeted the victims, who resided in Natick, MA at the time.

It’s still unclear how any employee, especially those in management, thought sending a fetal pig to its customers would in any way be good business practice. 

Hot Take Politics will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story. 

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