Amazon began collecting higher USPS rates a week before the rates were set to take effect and said it got around to refunding sellers 3 weeks later. The over-charging incident appears to have been a deliberate decision, not a glitch, which would have been a violation of USPS policy.
One seller referred to the incident in a thread on the seller discussion boards as Amazon having gotten "caught in the cookie jar again."
On July 7, an Amazon moderator told sellers it had implemented the rate change early "due to the relative closeness to Prime Day (July 12 - 13)" due to concerns the change could impact sellers ability to use its "Buy Shipping" feature.
But in a letter to sellers on August 2, it referred to the incident as an "error."
Last month, a USPS spokesperson would not comment
on the issue, instead referring us to the Amazon PR office for any comment regarding the incident. But when pressed, USPS's representative told us it does not allow online postage providers to implement USPS rate hikes ahead of time.
Sellers reported receiving the following notification from Amazon on August 2nd:
Thank you, for reaching out with concerns regarding increase in the USPS rate occurring ahead of the planned USPS nationwide pricing update.
On July 1, 2022, Amazon started collecting higher rates on two USPS services ahead of the planned USPS launch that was due on July 10, 2022. The two services impacted were Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter shipments.
For more information on the price change, go to the USPS website
If you shipped with these two services from July 1, 2022, through July 10, 2022, your seller account was charged with incorrect shipping fees due to the error. Amazon has issued a lump-sum refund on July 22, 2022, to your seller account to rectify this error.
To find the refund you can generate a Date Range Report:
1. On Seller Central, go to "Reports", and then select "Payments".
2. Select "Date Range Reports", and then click "Generate Report".
3. In the Generate date range report pop-up menu, select report type: Transaction.
4. Select reporting range: Month or Custom, and the specified date information.
5. Click "Generate".
6. Review your report in the list on the Date Range Reports page.
7. Download and open the file in Excel.
The adjustment will be found in the "other" column with the "type" field description equal to "Adjustment."
The Amazon Services team
Note the lack of apology or redress to sellers for the financial impact, and no word on whether the USPS took any action as a result of Amazon's apparent policy violation.