Starting April 28, U.S.-based third-party Amazon sellers will pay a new 5% fuel and inflation surcharge on top of current fulfillment fees. Amazon confirmed the fee hike to Protocol and relayed a copy of the email sent to sellers. The fee affects Amazon sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon.
Amazon told sellers that it has been hit by inflation, claiming: "Like many, we have experienced significant cost increases and absorbed them, wherever possible."
The fee, which takes effect in two weeks, will cost sellers 24 cents per unit and will apply to all product types shipped from fulfillment centers. With the hike, Amazon's rates would increase to around $2.52/unit. Amazon said its fee is roughly half of what Fedex and UPS are charging for fuel fees, which cost sellers 49 cents and 42 cents per unit, respectively.
The vast majority of Amazon merchants are third-party sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, which charges sellers a fulfillment fee per unit depending on the size and weight of the item, as well as storage fees depending on the month of the year and the cubic feet that the items take up in its warehouses. According to CNBC, 89% of Amazon's sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon.
“It is still unclear if these inflationary costs will go up or down, or for how long they will persist, so rather than a permanent fee change, we will be employing a fuel and inflation surcharge for the first time — a mechanism broadly used across supply chain providers," Amazon said in the email to sellers.
It's also unclear whether sellers will pass on those costs to Amazon shoppers.
Several delivery and logistics-centered tech companies have made similar moves in recent weeks as gas prices soar: Uber and Lyft added surcharges for car rides, and Instacart tacked on an additional 40 cents per order.