Tech

Amazon slaps U.S. sellers with 5% fuel and inflation surcharge

Key Points
  • Amazon said Wednesday it's adding a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge to U.S. sellers who use its fulfillment services.
  • The surcharge is "subject to change," according to a notice sent to sellers and viewed by CNBC.
  • With inflation soaring, the e-commerce giant is trying to offset some of its own costs by passing fees along to sellers

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Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon said Wednesday it plans to add a fuel and inflation surcharge of roughly 5% to existing fees it collects from U.S. third-party sellers who use the company's fulfillment services.

The fee will go into effect in about two weeks, and is "subject to change," the company said in a notice to sellers that was viewed by CNBC.

"The surcharge will apply to all product types, such as non-apparel, apparel, dangerous goods, and Small and Light items," the notice stated. "The surcharge will apply to all units shipped from fulfillment centers starting April 28."

With inflation soaring, the e-commerce giant is trying to offset some of its own costs by passing fees along to sellers

Amazon already collects fees from sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA. Merchants pay to have their inventory stored in Amazon's warehouses and to make use of the company's supply chain and shipping operations.

Some 89% of Amazon's 2 million-plus sellers used FBA in 2021, according to a report from Jungle Scout, which creates product research software for Amazon sellers.

"In 2022, we expected a return to normalcy as Covid-19 restrictions around the world eased, but fuel and inflation have presented further challenges," an Amazon spokesperson said in an email to CNBC. "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 its fuel and inflation surcharge is 24 cents per unit, which is below the UPS fuel surcharge of 42 cents and FedEx's fee of 49 cents, as of March 21.

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