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Ecommerce news: Amazon UK bans incentivised reviews and Autumn Statement 2016

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In our ecommerce news round up this week, Amazon are changing their long term storage fees and the reviews policy for their UK and EU sites. We’ve also got a summary of the main points from the Chancellor’s Autumn 2016 Statement that will affect small online sellers.

Amazon changes long term storage fees

Amazon has informed sellers that it will be making changes to its long term storage fees for stock held in European warehouses in 2017.

Currently, Amazon undertakes an inventory clean up for its Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) warehouses twice a year, in February and August. Sellers with stock that has been in the warehouse for 12 months or longer are charged a semi-annual long term storage fee of £882.50 per cubic metre.

Starting from August 15, 2017, long term storage fees will also be charged on stock that’s spent more than 6 months in an FBA warehouse. Items that have been in a warehouse for over 6 months will incur a fee of £441.25 per cubic metre, items that have been stored for over 12 months will still be charged £882.50.

Amazon is also removing the exemption for one unit of each Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) from the long term storage fees. From 15 August 2017 all units held in an FBA warehouse, even if they are the last one of a product, will be liable for extra fees.

Find out more about Amazon’s change to long term storage fees here

Autumn 2016 Statement’s implications for online sellers

On 24, November the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered the Autumn 2016 Statement on the British economy, which included a number of changes that may affect small online businesses:

  • If you employ any staff, national minimum wages will increase from April 2017:
    - 25 years and older: £7.20 to £7.50 per hour
    - 21 to 24 years old: £6.95 to £7.05 per hour
    - 18 to 20 years old: £5.55 to £5.60 per hour
    - 16 to 17 years old: £4.00 to £4.05 per hour
    - apprentices: £3.40 to £3.50 per hour.
  • National Insurance payment thresholds will be aligned for employers and employees, which means that you will both start paying National Insurance on earnings of over £157 per week. This is supposed to simplify the payment of National Insurance for employers, but could also mean as an employer you have to pay more.
  • The tax free allowance for Income Tax will rise to £11,500 and the higher rate threshold to £45,000 in April 2017.
  • Flat Rate VAT, which was introduced to simplify accounting for small businesses, is changing. From 1 April, 2017 a new 16.5% rate will apply to businesses with limited costs (a company that spends less than 2% of its sales on goods such as equipment for the business). Learn more about Flat Rate VAT changes.   

Read the Autumn Statement 2016 policy paper here.

Amazon extends incentivised reviews ban to UK and EU

Earlier this year, Amazon updated its reviews policy, and now Amazon’s UK and EU sites have also banned incentivised reviews. Amazon sellers can no longer offer a free or discounted product, or any compensation in exchange for reviews. And, they can no longer use any review services that allow you to influence or monitor reviews of your products. The change applies to all categories apart from books.

Find out more about the changes to Amazon’s review policy

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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