Happy Amazon Prime Day: What Once Was Free Now Has a Fee

Special delivery!
Special delivery! Marco Quintarelli / EyeEm
Midway into Amazon Prime Day, July 12-13, Coloradans are discovering an unexpected add-on to their deals: a 27-cent delivery fee.

Amazon Prime Day started in 2015 as a celebration of the shopping site's twentieth anniversary, as well as a way to drive Prime membership. Over the years, the small event has expanded into an annual two-day shopping orgy, whose success often surmounts that of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as thousands of items across hundreds of categories go on sale for Amazon prime members.

But one of the prime advantages of Prime membership, fee-free delivery, no longer exists in this state.

During the last legislative session, a bill adding a .27 state fee — which could increase with inflation — was passed by lawmakers. The move was part of a transportation funding bill that imposes a 27-cent fee on all retail deliveries "with at least one item of tangible personal property subject to state sales or use tax."

The fee, which has been required since July 1, applies to deliveries by motor vehicle, and includes goods that are mailed as well as food deliveries. The law requires online retailers to track the sales tax imposed on Coloradans and report the amount on their receipt or invoice under the item "retail delivery fees.”

The fee breaks down into six categories: Community Access Retail Delivery Fee; Clean Fleet Retail Delivery Fee; Clean Transit Retail Delivery Fee; General Retail Delivery Fee; Bridge, Tunnel Retail Delivery Fee; and Air Pollution Mitigation Retail Delivery Fee. The funds collected, estimated to total $1.2 billion over the next decade, will be used to support roadwork and other transit projects, as well as pollution initiatives.

And they'll also be used by Republicans hoping to make some political hay. The National Republican Congressional Committee, for example, points to state legislators Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo, both Democrats now running for the U.S. House of Representatives, as prime culprits for approving the fee. “Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo are already making Coloradans’ lives worse," says NRCC spokeswoman Courtney Parella. "Imagine what they could do if elected to Congress.”

Happy Prime Day!
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