Just as America’s Federal Trade Commission prepares to launch a major antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, the giant online seller has announced a new fee for Prime traders who don’t use its logistics services.
From October, US Seller Fulfilled Prime users who opt out of Amazon’s delivery and warehousing services will have to pay Amazon 2% of every sale, or a minimum of US$0.25 per item, according to the global news organisation AP. The news comes just as it is reported that Amazon’s representatives have failed to persuade America’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it has not misused its size to engage in anti-competitive behavior. The new fee could help pave the way for the FTC to file its antitrust lawsuit in an American federal court.
UK-USA delivery specialist ParcelHero said the FTC’s Chair, Lina Khan, has previously criticised the actions of several big tech companies, particularly Amazon. The addition of new fees for Prime sellers attempting to avoid using Amazon’s logistics services will do nothing to mollify the FTC. If the Commission wins its case, that could result in the breakup of the online giant.
ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, said, “Amazon reportedly met this week with the three FTC Commissioners in what is commonly known in the US as a ‘last rites’ meeting, which generally precedes the launch of a full-scale lawsuit.
“The Commission is thought to have been investigating Amazon since 2021, looking into evidence of anti-competitive practices. These potentially include allegedly launching copy-cat white label products and allegedly giving undue prominence to sellers using its Logistics by Amazon service. If the Commission wins its case, US experts say it could lead to the breakup of Amazon’s US$1.3bn business.
“The smart money is still on Amazon winning its battle against the FTC. However, the Commission has deposed around 30 Amazon executives, thought to include executive chairman Jeff Bezos and chief executive officer Andy Jassy, and has collected a considerable amount of internal email and other evidence. The outcome is certainly not a done deal.”