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Letter to Mr. John Donahoe, CEO, eBay Inc.

EO Guidance Document #
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PDF Icon Letter to eBay CEO (614.99 KB)

April 9, 2012

Mr. John Donahoe
Chief Executive Officer
eBay Inc.
2065 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, California 95125

Dear Mr. Donohoe:

This letter is to follow-up on conversations the Department of Agriculture's(USDA) Office of General Counsel had with your legal team in 2010, in which we requested that eBay post a notice regarding the illegality of selling Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on its website and/or that SNAP benefits be added to its prohibited items list. I want to thank you for your attention to this important matter and for taking immediate action to add the sale of SNAP benefits to your prohibited and restricted items list. However, there is more work to be done.

We continue to receive complaints that individuals are attempting to buy and/or sell SNAP benefits using your website. Program fraud, however limited it may be, undermines public confidence in government and jeopardizes the ability of SNAP to serve the tens of millions of struggling families who need it to help purchase a nutritious diet. The continued efforts by unscrupulous individuals to use your website as a means to conduct illegal activities adversely impacts the integrity and image of SNAP, as well as the intent of your website.

To that end, I respectfully request your continued assistance to prevent future advertisements that attempt to engage in illegal activities with SNAP benefits. We also request your continued assistance in removing advertisements as they are identified and to refer buyers and sellers' names, addresses, and/or phone numbers, if known, to USDA, so that we may forward the information to our Office of Inspector General for investigation.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions or information to share, please contact Ronald Ward by phone at 703-305-2523 or email at

Audrey Rowe
Food and Nutrition Service

Page updated: December 10, 2021

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.