Amazon to limit free two-day Prime shipping

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NEW YORK (Sept. 1, 2015) — One of Amazon Prime’s best perks is getting scaled back.

Depending on where you live, you may no longer be able to receive certain items with free two-day shipping from Amazon — even if you’re a Prime member.

Amazon is testing a new program called Ship by Region, which will allow merchants to choose how far their items will ship with Amazon Prime, the company’s option for free two-day shipping. For example, a big screen TV warehoused in California might be available for Prime shipping in the Southwest but not in the Northeast.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the story.

Previously, Prime had been an either/or option for merchants: Items either were available for free shipping or they weren’t. But shipping large or heavy items across the country might not make economic sense for some companies.

The test is limited. Most Prime items ship directly from an Amazon warehouse, and Ship by Region only applies to sellers who ship directly to consumers.

Amazon didn’t comment on how long the Ship by Region test will last or how many items it will impact.

Most items listed on Amazon are available with Prime shipping. Customers pay $99 a year for the service.

Amazon has made an inordinate number of tweaks to its popular Prime service in 2015.

Most of the changes have been customer-friendly. For example, Amazon expanded same-day delivery service Prime Now to include international cities and food delivery — and made it free for Prime members.

But others have restricted Prime’s benefits. A month ago, Amazon limited the number of people able to share a Prime account to two adults, in an attempt to prevent stealthy roommates and co-workers spitting the cost of one Prime membership instead of each getting his or her own.