Skip to main content

eBay/TCGPlayer sellers raise monopoly and labor concerns with the FTC

A group of trading card sellers on the TCGplayer platform sent a letter to the CEOs of TCGplayer and parent company eBay, demanding that the company address sellers’ concerns about anti-competitive practices. The sellers also expressed support for unionized workers at the eBay/TCGplayer authentication center in Syracuse and urged the company to bargain in good faith with members of TCGUnion-CWA. Nearly a dozen elected officials representing the Syracuse area at the municipal and state levels also signed on to a separate letter urging eBay to end its union-busting and to come to the bargaining table in good faith to negotiate a contract with TCGunion-CWA.

The letter from sellers contends that a series of acquisitions starting in 2020 and ending with eBay’s purchase of TCGplayer in August 2022 have allowed the combined company to exploit its market power over sellers who use its platform and the company’s workers. The sellers cite instances when eBay/TCGplayer has unilaterally banned sellers who voiced support for the workers’ union drive on social media.

On February 7, 2024, an anonymous complaint was submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the agency’s proposed rule to ban junk fees. The complaint cites concerns regarding eBay/TCGplayer's unfair or deceptive fee practices, the dominant platform in this marketplace. The complaint also expresses concerns about eBay/TCGplayer’s imposition of excessive fees for sellers, alleging such practices are deceptive and unfair and an abuse of monopoly power in the trading card game marketplace.

“It is absolutely unjust that a platform worth over $21 billion dollars can silence small individual sellers who dare to share information about alternative sales strategies or protest the company’s union busting,” said Alanson Seybold, trading-card seller on the TCGplayer platform. And because eBay has eliminated most of the competition in the trading card marketplace, when the company suspends us for unjustified reasons, we lose our livelihoods. We hope eBay/TCGPlayer takes our concerns seriously. If it doesn’t, we are prepared to take these issues up with the relevant anti-competition agencies and our elected representatives.”

The sellers ask that eBay/TCGplayer implement remedies to protect sellers' freedom from retaliation and freedom of speech and request that company officials meet with their group. If eBay/TCGplayer declines to meet, the sellers' group said it would seek the help of elected officials and competition enforcement agencies in pursuing these changes to the platform. Sellers have also made the letter available as a petition for other impacted parties to sign on.


eBay/TCGPlayer sellers raise monopoly concerns and labor issues (CWA, Feb. 8, 2024)

Group of Card Sellers Accuses eBay of Retaliation Over Their Support of TCGplayer Union (IGN, Mar. 20, 2024)