Commentary News

Amazon Marketplace Fair Price Policy


Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Price Policy is a fancy name for Price Fixing.

By definition, a marketplace is something where the laws of supply and demand are in effect. If someone wants a widget, they can purchase it if they have the amount charged by the merchant or vendor. Some marketplaces even allow for haggling, or trying to agree on a mutually agreed upon price.

Amazon used to operate in this fashion. No more.

a place, usually in an open area, where things are sold; a market

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed issues with a few ASINs that are disabled one by one because of some fantasy price that is off in a land far, far away, and one which we have no hopes of ever coming into contact with. When we say the market determines the price in a capitalist society, we mean the interaction between buyer and seller. What is going on lately is more akin to governmental restrictions on how much you can charge during a natural disaster to prevent price gouging. Only… there is no natural disaster. This one is all man-made.

This must have been the master plan all along. Just like drugs, get the people hooked on getting their wares from the benevolent widget maker who gives awesome customer service and seems to be quite generous, and just when we’ve all been hooked on this fantasy, here he comes with a large splash of cold water to wake us from our stupor.

Now he’s in control… or so it seems.

Some people don’t learn from history, and just like eBay lost it’s flavor because of how it treated it’s sellers, which were the backbone of the platform — Amazon is going down the same path now, no matter how much in revenues it makes and how little (read: none) in taxes it pays. Sellers are resourceful and innovative, and we can only take so much before we begin to turn the tide on the behemoth.

Right now this amounts to just a rant. However, in order for it to be more than just that, we all have to decide what we want things to be like in the future, and how we plan on getting there. Here are a few issues, and my thoughts on what needs to be done:

#1: Eliminate the Fair Market Price Policy

Currently if your items are merchant-fulfilled on some ASINs, your listings are fine. You can have something that is listed as $4.00 and shipping is $12.99 (for a total of $16.99) and customers can buy your item on Amazon. If you are an FBA seller and the listing is marked with this inane policy, if you list the item at $16.99 it will be deactivated because in Amazon’s mind you have violated the policy. This must end. Now.

#2: Reimburse sellers for shipping AND removal fees

Sellers who have been impacted by this policy must receive reimbursements for their shipping costs, both to AND from Amazon. It’s completely unfair to have someone subject to a policy that #1) makes no sense, #2) provides no specifics on what price they are matching or undercutting in the market, and #3) doesn’t tell sellers beforehand what ASINs are affected before they create a shipping plan.

Sorry, there is no #3.

Even though I have stated this is more or less a rant, Da Hustla is working on a work around for this issue, and once one is found, rest assured I will let you guys in on the secret. (don’t worry, I’ll be sure it’s one that won’t compromise your account)

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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