|Tue Mar 4 2014 22:59:00|
Sellers Take Offense at Amazon FBA Pricing Lawsuit
By: Ina Steiner
Emails are coming in about the Amazon FBA pricing lawsuit in "Shopper Sues Amazon over Merchant Pricing - Here's Why." According to the lawsuit, "Dr. Ekin and other Prime Program Members were harmed and deceived by Amazon's activity because they paid the $79 annual Prime Program membership fee solely for the benefit of free shipping. However, the prices of FBA items offered to them as Prime Program Members were routinely inflated to include shipping charges."
As the article explained, if a non-FBA seller lists a book for $10 with $3.99 shipping, an FBA seller may choose list the same title for $13.99 since shoppers won't have to pay for shipping on that seller's item since FBA items are Prime-eligible.
One reader used eBay as an example in explaining why she thought the lawsuit was unfounded. "It has always been since the beginning on eBay that sellers offering free shipping would incorporate shipping into the pricing. How can sellers lose money? One of the main reasons for free shipping was to make calculations easy for the buyer but never for the seller to lose money. Sellers must make a profit to stay in business. How can someone sue over how a seller prices an item. This is ridiculous."
Another reader was unsympathetic to the shopper suing Amazon. "Ina, I spend about $4,000 a year on Amazon. I do due diligence on all my purchasing. Say I am going to buy a NEST Thermostat, I first go to Amazon to see what their price is. Then I go to Nest to see what their price is. If Nest is the same as Amazon with free shipping, I will buy direct from Nest as an example. Support for the manufacturer is important so they stay in business. I am 73 years old but very computer literate."
He said he wondered if the buyers discussed in the article also do due diligence shopping. "I feel I have never been stiffed by Amazon. In addition, I now see that Amazon often shows Merchant items before the vertical listing of items with Prime at the top of the list. You have to learn how to Dig for the best price and free shipping and look at the manufacturers prices to determine if the Amazon price is the best."
"Caveat emptor," he ended his letter.
Some sellers feel that if anything, Amazon encourages them to lower their prices rather than raise them. What do you think of this lawsuit, and what would you tell this shopper?