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Economic expert gives insight on Amazon's decision to enact 'fuel and inflation surcharge'

The e-commerce company announced a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge for third-party sellers will go into effect April 28th.

LANCASTER, Pa. — At the end of this month, Amazon will enact a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge for third-party sellers.

It's the first time such a fee has been implemented in the company’s history.

“It’s not really a surprise," said Yeva Nersisyan, an associate professor of economics at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster.

Nersisyan believes, with the current state of inflation and gas prices, it was only a matter of time.

“Eventually I think if inflation continued as it has, unfortunately, we were going to see companies trying to pass down these costs," she said.

The new fee takes effect April 28th.

It applies to all sellers who use Amazon's shipping services.

Experts say shoppers should expect the move to translate into higher prices for goods on the website.

"[Amazon is] huge, they don’t have a lot of competitors because of the kind of business they have and so that means they can pass down their costs, and their suppliers will most likely pass down their costs to their consumers as well," said Nersisyan.

She warns it might not be long before we see other major companies follow Amazon’s lead.

“To some extent they drive trends so to the extent that they choose to do this, that might give the OK or the green light for others to do it as well," said Nersisyan.

And for sellers--it’s hard to say if the surcharge will be temporary.

“That doesn’t necessarily happen," explained Nersisyan. "Companies will raise prices then they will likely not lower them even when the situation that led to the increase in prices calls for it.”

More information about Amazon's surcharge can be found on its website.

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