During last year's holiday season, hoverboards were all the rage.
The electronic self-balancing scooter was the hottest-selling item on Black Friday and clips from "Back to the Future Part II" were all over the internet. Amazon.com, which sold plenty of hoverboards in addition to everything else on earth, was having a blockbuster Christmas.
The same could not be said for JC Berg, a New York–based seller who was early in spotting the hoverboard trend.
Amazon had been so eager to snap up inventory that it agreed to buy $1.5 million worth of scooters from Berg, equal to about 4,000 hoverboards.
Berg held up his side of the deal, delivering the first 3,000 boards in a hurry. But he never received a penny.
According to a $1.5 million fraud and breach of contract lawsuit Berg filed against Amazon in October, the e-tailer tried to change the terms of the deal and force Berg to accept "improper price concessions" when cheaper hoverboards began showing up on its marketplace.
Berg, who started his business on Amazon in 2014 and was generating several millions of dollars a year on the site, is now cut off altogether. Even the electronics and office products that he'd delivered in the past are no longer welcome.
"We've been blackballed," said Berg, who grew up in a family of retailers in New York's Diamond District. "They ceased purchase orders across the board as the situation became more contentious."