CALIFORNIA, U.S. – Accusing Amazon of poaching, eBay has complained that the world’s largest online retailer used an “unlawful” scheme to tempt sellers.

According to a cease and desist letter by eBay, Amazon used its internal messaging system to repeatedly contact traders from the auction site to move to the online retailer.

In its letter, eBay has warned that it would take “appropriate steps” to protect itself from the unlawful tactic.

In a report published in the Wall Street Journal this week. eBay said that in late September, it found out that Amazon staff had been contacting sellers on the auction site using its messaging system.

Subsequently, it said it carried out an investigation, which revealed that about 50 Amazon employees had sent more than 1,000 messages to regular traders.

In the messages, the Amazon employees suggested that eBay traders abandon the auction site and instead sell via the retailer.

Calling the actions a “troubling scheme,” eBay wrote the letter demanding that Amazon put an end to efforts to try and poach merchants.

According to experts, Amazon’s alleged actions contravene eBay’s user agreements.

Further, the actions might fall foul of Californian laws that govern reasonable access to computer systems.

Following the reports, Amazon said that it had started a “thorough investigation” of eBay’s claims.