BROOKLYN (CN) – eBay conspired with the American Numismatic Association and the Professional Numismatists Guild to exclude small coin dealers and grading services from the Internet coin market, four plaintiffs say in a class action antitrust complaint in Federal Court.
Universal Grading Service claims the defendants, including Barry Struppler & Co., conspired “to obstruct the ability of the smaller coin grading services to participate in the coin marketplace on eBay.”
Led by the Professional Numismatists Guild, the defendants did this by forming an “‘Internet rules committee’ made up of coin industry insiders, including Barry Struppler, in his capacity as then ANA governor and chairman of the ANA Consumer Protection Committee,” the complaint states.
It continues: “(A) primary purpose of the PNG ‘Internet rules committee’ from 2001 through 2004 was to interfere with and obstruct the ability of the smaller coin grading services, including UGS, to participate in the then burgeoning coin marketplace on eBay by, among other things, formally and informally accusing Plaintiffs of selling ‘counterfeit’ coins and otherwise engaging in fraudulent conduct with regard to purchasing and selling certified coins and/or grading coins that were purchased and sold on the Internet via eBay.”
Plaintiffs claim the defendants formed their “Coins Community Watch group” for the purpose of defaming and excluding smaller coin services from the marketplace.
Plaintiffs demand treble damages and an injunction. They are represented by Marina Trubitsky.
Attached to this 39-page complaint are 46 pages of exhibits.