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StandWithUs Letter to Amazon Regarding Concerning Changes to Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime

Updated: Feb 12

February 1, 2021


Via Email: (davidz@amazon.com)


David Zapolsky

General Counsel

Amazon.com, Inc.

P.O. Box 81226

Seattle, Washington 98108-1226


Dear Mr. Zapolsky,


We write on behalf of the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department, a division of StandWithUs, an international, non-profit Israel education organization, expressing concern about Amazon’s recent changes to Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), scheduled to go into effect today. Specifically, we are concerned about the disproportionately negative impact that your updated policy will have on Sabbath-observant Jewish business owners who are Amazon sellers enrolled in SFP and whose religious observance prohibits them from working on Saturdays. This is no small group being impacted: these Jewish business owners comprise an estimated 15% of Amazon marketplace sellers.


We recognize that your updated policy is facially neutral in that “sellers enrolled in SFP must support either Saturday or Sunday deliveries and pick-ups.” In theory, Sabbath-observant Jewish business sellers enrolled in SFP can fulfill orders on Sundays in accordance with SFP obligations. However, as you may be aware, most major shipping carriers such as FedEx, UPS and USPS do not offer Sunday pickups,[1] and any carriers that do offer Sunday pickups do not typically ship until Monday. Because of this reality, the new SFP shipping and delivery requirements are impossible for observant Jews to comply with. These sellers therefore are at risk of losing their SFP seller status, which impacts not only their ability to compete on Amazon with other sellers but essentially the feasibility of their entire livelihood on Amazon.


Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this predicament that does not compromise your new policy. Sabbath-observant sellers can simply turn off their Amazon Prime badge before the Sabbath, so that they are not accepting any orders that they cannot prepare immediately for shipment on Saturday. Then, when the Sabbath ends Saturday night, they can turn their badge on again. This solution ensures that these sellers are in compliance with the spirit of the new policy and it avoids Amazon creating a negative, disparate impact on Sabbath-observant Jews—a sizable percentage of Amazon’s marketplace sellers.


While we are confident that it is not your intention to force religiously faithful individuals into a position of choosing whether to violate their beliefs in order to comply with your policy—especially as it is rendered unnecessary by virtue of the option of simply turning off the Prime badge for a few hours—that is precisely the situation this policy has created. This above solution enables these sellers to fulfill their religious obligations while also satisfying their SFP responsibilities. Given the ease with which you can eliminate this problem, we hope you will do so as quickly as possible.


Thank you for your attention and consideration to this important issue. If you find the above solution amenable, we hope you will disseminate the information promptly to your business sellers enrolled in SFP, so that your Sabbath-observant sellers know that they have this option going forward. Given the urgency surrounding this issue regarding your policies going into effect today, we look forward to your response by Monday, February 8, 2021.


Sincerely,


Roz Rothstein

CEO & Co-Founder

StandWithUs


Yael Lerman

Director

StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department


Jonathan Bell

Associate Director

StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department

[1] It is our understanding that Amazon is well aware of the burden that the updated SFP policy has on observant Jewish sellers enrolled in SFP. On a January 28, 2021 webinar offered by Amazon to discuss the new SFP changes, multiple sellers apparently raised their concerns about the major carriers not offering pickup on Sunday and were told by an Amazon representative that it is up to the seller to arrange Sunday pickup with the carrier, an obvious responsibility shift on your part to those directly impacted.

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StandWithUs (SWU) is an international and non-partisan Israel education organization that inspires and educates people of all ages and backgrounds, challenges misinformation and fights antisemitism.

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