October 12, 2023
- The US Dept. of Justice has sued eBay for allowing the sale of more than 343,000 illegal “rolling coal” pollution devices.
- Each alleged transaction could incur a fine of up to $5,580 under the Clean Air Act. This adds up to a fine of $2 billion for eBay.
eBay is currently facing a crisis. eBay has been sued by the DOJ in the USA for allowing the sale of 343,000 “rolling coal” pollution devices and other products that violate environmental laws to be sold on its platform. Rolling coal is the practice of using a tampering device to overfeed a vehicle’s engine with diesel, causing it to emit heavy, sooty exhaust that harms air quality.
On behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, eBay has been sued by the DOJ for a $2 billion fine. Each sale could lead to a fine of up to $5,580 under the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, eBay has denied these charges, saying “more than 99.9% of the listings for the products cited by the DOJ, including millions of listings each year.” One of the online retailers has claimed, “And eBay has partnered closely with law enforcement, including the DOJ, for over two decades on identifying emerging risks and assisting with prevention and enforcement.”
The 61-page complaint by the US DOJ had several screenshots of emission-tampering devices that were being sold on eBay. Tampering with a vehicle’s emissions control systems and selling tampering tools is illegal under the Clean Air Act. However, only a few states, such as New Jersey, Maryland, and Maine, have independently prohibited this practice within their own jurisdictions.
In addition to rolling coal items, the prosecution claims that eBay allowed the sale of over 5,600 dangerous methylene chloride paint removers and at least 23,000 prohibited pesticide products, all of which the Environmental Protection Agency assessed to be dangerous. Prosecutors assert that “eBay possesses the capability, the jurisdiction, and the means to halt the sale of unlawful, detrimental items on its platform but has deliberately refrained from doing so.”
In conclusion, the news that “eBay has been sued by the DOJ” is a serious matter. It has the potential to have a significant impact on the online marketplace industry and on environmental protection. It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds further.