A couple has filed a federal lawsuit against eBay, accusing the e-retail company of subjecting them to a systemic campaign of harassment and cyberstalking after former employees sent live cockroaches, among other things.

The former employees had reportedly sent a bloody pig mask and a funeral wreath to the couple's home in Massachusetts, Daily Mail reported.

David and Ina Steiner said in their 93-page complaint that the company engaged in a conspiracy to "intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, stalk, and silence them."

The Steiners run EcommerceBytes, which is an online newsletter focused on the e-commerce industry. Federal prosecutors said that the Steiners were threatened with an anonymous email and Twitter threats.

Court records showed that at least seven people had been criminally charged, with five pleading guilty, according to Reuters.

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eBay Lawsuit

The suit was filed against eBay Inc., former eBay CEO Devin Wenig, former eBay Vice President Steve Wymer, and several others involved in eBay's security department, including James Baugh, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, David Harville, Stephanie Stockwell, Philip Cooke, and Veronica Zea, as well as a John and Jane Doe, according to MetroWest Daily News.

The couple had run negative articles about the company, which had angered company executives. Wenig and Wymer were allegedly upset over the bad press that the articles had caused.

The two had reportedly ordered their subordinates a free reign to do whatever they needed to stop the Steiners from writing about eBay.

The harassment began online, with the defendants creating fake names on Twitter and then threatening Ina Steiner. The harassment progressed to the defendants mailing several items to the couple's home. It includes packages of live cockroaches and spiders, a bloody pig mask, a funeral wreath, and a book about dealing with the spouse's death.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants used David Steiner's name for subscriptions to pornographic magazines, and these were sent to Steiners' neighbors to try to tarnish their reputation.

The couple had installed security cameras as they became scared, with the online messages becoming more and more threatening. The Steiners had also slept in separate bedrooms in case someone broke in so one could escape if the other is being attacked. The couple also rarely left home due to the threats.

eBay's Statement

Meanwhile, the e-commerce giant said it had cooperated fully with the criminal investigations into what happened. eBay has also acknowledged that the couple has a cause to file their complaint.

In a statement, the company noted that the misconduct of the former employees was wrong, adding that they will do what is fair and appropriately address what the Steiners went through. The couple's lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, said that they want to make clear that the directives came from the top.

Scapicchio noted that firing employees after the said order is not enough, adding that one should send that message to corporate America, Fox Business reported.

The Steiners seek legal fees, damages, and relief in an amount determined by a jury. Wenig, who is named as a defendant, made a surprise exit from eBay in September 2019.

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Written by: Mary Webber

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