EBay has expressed concern that its online traders have been prevented by manufacturers from selling goods at a discount to high street shops.

Almost half of 450 UK-based online retailers polled by the auction website said they had experienced suppliers trying to stop them from selling their goods online. 45 per cent said that they had been told what price to sell goods at.

EBay said that it was researching whether supplier “bullying” is commonplace after expressing surprise at the findings.

EBay UK managing director Mark Lewis said: “We don’t have an issue with selective distribution but we do have an issue with the abuse of it.

“These are small and medium enterprises. They don’t have the finances to fight these brands.”