In an attempt to keep its bottom line from going into the red, Amazon has announced that it will increase its fulfillment fee rates to sellers by 5% – a surcharge related to inflation and rising fuel prices. The company said that it’s the first time in its 28-year history that it’s had to do that.
Effective April 28, sellers will see an average increase of $0.24 to their per unit fulfillment fee rates. As an example, if a seller had previously paid $5 in fulfillment fees, they’ll now pay $5.25. This fee covers the cost for Amazon to pick, pack, ship the products in less than two days, and provide customer service on the orders.
"Like many, we have experienced significant cost increases and absorbed them, wherever possible, to reduce the impact on our selling partners,” Amazon said in an email sent to its sellers.
The company noted that while the surcharge is a mechanism broadly used across supply chain providers, the move was unplanned. Going into 2022, Amazon anticipated a return to business as usual as COVID-19 restrictions eased, but fuel prices and inflation presented the company with unexpected challenges.
Consumers may have to pay more
ConsumerAffairs reached out to Amazon to see if the company expected the extra surcharge to result in consumers paying more for products, but the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Amazon sellers are already speaking out.
“Consumers will lose,” Dan Brownsher, the owner of e-commerce consulting business Channel Key, told Bloomberg News. “Amazon already raised fees in January, so sellers will have to raise prices.”
While Amazon is in the spotlight at the moment, it’s not the only company raising prices or adding surcharges to offset the impact of inflation and gas prices. Rideshare leaders Lyft and Uber have also added fuel surcharges to help compensate their drivers for the spike in fuel prices that they have to pay out of their own pockets.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect a clarification on how Amazon will be applying the 5% surcharge to sellers.