Amazon will charge US sellers using its fulfillment services a 5 percent fuel and inflation fee for the first time. It will add the fees to what it already collects from third-party sellers using the Fulfillment by Amazon service to store, pack and ship their goods starting on April 28th, the e-commerce giant wrote on its website. Amazon already raised its fulfillment fees back in January by an average of around 5.2 percent, as noted by Bloomberg.
In an email sent to sellers, Amazon said it has experienced "significant cost increases and absorbed them, wherever possible" to reduce the impact on its sellers. When it raised its fulfillment fees earlier this year, the company said it more than doubled its US fulfillment capacity since the start of the pandemic, hired over 628,000 people and increased its starting wage in the US. It raised its fulfillment fees back then to offset its higher operating costs going forward.
Now, Amazon told CNBC in a statement that while it expected a return to normalcy this year after COVID-19 restrictions have started lifting, "fuel and inflation have presented further challenges." Inflation in the US surged to 8.5 percent in March from the same period last year, according to the Labor Department, which is the highest increase the country has seen over the past four decades. Gas prices, as most people know, reached new heights after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Amazon explained that it chose to impose a fuel and inflation surcharge instead of raising its fees permanently again, because it's "unclear if these inflationary costs will go up or down, or for how long they will persist." The spokesperson said its surcharge will cost 24 cents per unit, which is lower than the fuel surcharge imposed by UPS and FedEx. All the same, some sellers told Bloomberg that they have to raise prices to remain in business, so buyers can most likely expect to pay more for their purchases in the near future.