Amazon.com (AMZN.O) has abandoned its plan to levy an additional merchant fee on merchants who opt not to use its shipping services, according to a company spokesperson, signaling the e-commerce giant’s cautious approach amidst increasing antitrust scrutiny.
Originally slated to take effect on October 1, Amazon had intended to introduce a new 2% fee on all sales made by third-party sellers who handled their own product shipments, as reported by media outlets in August. The company justified this fee as a measure to protect itself from rising costs.
However, in a reversal of its plans, Amazon has decided against implementing this program fee. An Amazon spokesperson stated, “After careful consideration, we’ve chosen not to proceed with the fee program to prevent any negative impact on seller sentiment regarding fee-related concerns.”
This shift in Amazon merchant fee strategy comes at a time when the company is facing the prospect of legal action from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as initially reported by Bloomberg.
The fee was intended to affect numerous merchants who utilize Seller Fulfilled Prime, Amazon’s program that guarantees prompt product delivery, even though the company does not oversee the shipping process itself, according to the report.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC plans to file a lawsuit against Amazon later this month because the company did not propose any concessions to resolve antitrust allegations.
The FTC initiated an investigation into Amazon during the Trump administration, alongside investigations into other major tech companies. Amazon has faced criticism for allegedly showing preferential treatment towards its own products in comparison to those from external sellers on its platform.