After Amazon UK customers received emails this morning warning them of the change, the card colossus said it was “very disappointed” and added that said Amazon “is threatening to restrict consumer choice”.
Amazon fired back that the decision was made as the costs of accepting card payments “continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers”, with the Financial Times citing a ‘person familiar with Amazon’s thinking’ as saying Visa had used its position to consistently keep costs high.
Amazon, the company that makes US$638.1mln of profit per day and is widely known for working its warehouse staff so hard they are forced to urinate in bottles, then got out its tiny violin (GBP12.99, FREE delivery on your first order) – with no high horses currently available for sale even from Amazon-approved merchants.
To the melancholy background music from the miniature string instrument, the online retailer painted an idyllic scene of how things should be – perhaps not one where it might be described, as it was earlier this year, by the Fair Tax Foundation for its “mind-blowing” approach to paying hardly any tax that allows it to “unfairly undercut local businesses that take a more responsible approach“.
Amazon argued that with all the advances in technology (such as those that will such as those designed to stop so many of its staff being injured) should result in the ideal world where costs should be going down over time due to “but instead they continue to stay high or even rise”.
The Amazon spokesperson then told the BBC that Visa’s price rises were “pretty egregious” over the last few years, but it would not say how much it had been charged.
Some Amazon Prime users might point out that the company has hiked the price of Prime twice in 2014 and 2018.
Visa claimed that on average its charges are less than 0.1% of the value of a purchase, with Mastercard (NYSE:MA) fees reported to be similar.
It added that it would “continue to work toward a resolution, so our cardholders can use their preferred Visa credit cards at Amazon UK without Amazon-imposed restrictions come January 2022”.
But, even though Visa and Mastercard increased interchange fees this year, which they would not have been able to do before Brexit, both Visa and Amazon insisted the dispute had nothing to do with Brexit.
What it was more about is that Amazon is so big and so ubiquitous for most customers, that it can now go around rattling trees even of one of the biggest payment companies in the world.
Who’s going to be next?