Amazon has been slammed by customers for introducing a sneaky fee of £3.99 for its same day delivery service. Under the new arrangement, customers are expected to pay £3.99 plus a £2 tip for the driver on orders under £40.
Amazon customers pay an annual fee of £79 to become a member of its Prime service on the basis this covers free delivery of unlimited purchases through the year.
However, shoppers with the U.S. giant who want same day delivery under its Prime Now service are being hit with fees on top of the subscription.
Before the change, Amazon had a minimum order of £20 to get free same day delivery through Prime Now.
Now, the minimum order has come down to £15, however any order below £40 comes with the £3.99 fee. The £3.99 fee covers same day delivery within a specified two hour period.
Prime Now, which specialises in delivering food, groceries, health, beauty, and home products, launched in 2015. It operates in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool with more areas to come.
The U.S. web giant’s decision risks alienating customers with people giving up on using Prime Now and switching back to conventional supermarkets.
The news has not gone down well with customers according to the angry reaction on Amazon’s Twitter feed.
One customer wrote: “£3.99 for delivery when we already pay £80 a year for prime membership? Will be cancelling.”
Scott Bevan wrote: “Adding a £3.99 delivery charge to orders under £40 without notice is very sneaky and not cool. Shame.”
Another complained: “So slyly you start charging £3.99 delivery unless I spend £40 instead of £20 even though I pay for Prime? #Byebye #PrimeNow.”
Jon D wrote: “What total s**** that @AmazonUK now try to charge £3.99 plus add £2 tip automatically to @amazonprimenow orders. Lost a customer. #ripoff”
Carl Bowler said: “Bunch of conmen doubling the order price for free delivery or charging £3.99 after we have already paid for prime #robbery.”
Ben Miller wrote: “Disgusted that we pay a subscription fee to use prime now and we now have to pay £3.99 every time we order under £40!”
And Alisha x said: “Was about to get my food delivered through amazon prime now but seen it’s £3.99 delivery charge?!? Nah ur alright I’ll go myself.”
Davey said he would be switching away from Amazon. He wrote: “Well, that’s a shame. Amazon Prime Now has started charging for delivery unless you spend over £40. I’m out.”
He added: “It’s now the same price as the big supermarkets, so the only benefit is 2-hour delivery. The supermarkets offer much more of a selection.”
Amazon staff did not respond to most of the Tweets, failing to offer any explanation for the change.
It seems likely that the company is trying to protect its profits from what are the high costs of running the delivery service.
Asked to explain the change, Amazon simply provided a link to its help pages which set out the charges.
Sources at the firm indicated the new charging structure is necessary to fund the service and expand the number of products available.
The company recorded huge sales worth £1.4billion in 2016, grabbing business from traditional UK retailers, however it paid just £7.4million in corporation tax, which is a tax on profits.
Amazon said: “We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate. Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment.”