Amazon has officially halted its plans to extract a two percent fee from Prime sellers who don’t use its in-house fulfillment. The company reportedly planned to start collecting the fee on October 1st, on top of the 8-to-15-percent commission it already gathers from merchants. After Bloomberg broke the story today based on information it had seen from inside Amazon, we reached out to the company to verify the decision.
Amazon PR manager Jonathan Hillson told The Verge in an email that “the 2% Seller Fulfilled Prime fee was intended to cover our costs,” but added that the company decided not to move forward because it was afraid “seller sentiment related to the fee” could affect participation in the program.
Hillson went on to say Amazon is “committed to supporting sellers’ success, which includes listening to their feedback.” According to a Bloomberg report, Amazon didn’t offer an explanation for the fee when it told merchants about it in August.
The charge would have only affected those in the Seller Fulfilled Prime program, which gives sellers the option of continuing to ship their own products without giving up the coveted “Prime” label that comes with the one- to- two-day delivery promise. This might appeal to companies who want more control of their products’ handling rather than passing them off to another company’s increasingly unhappy employees.
The Federal Trade Commission is planning a lawsuit alleging Amazon is forcing its sellers into arrangements they’d rather not be a part of. The FTC is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit pinned on that very idea. The regulator is already suing the company over allegations that it tricks customers into signing up for its Prime service.
Update September 20th, 2023, 7:40PM ET: Updated with a link to Bloomberg’s reporting.