A new website dedicated to comparing charges for deliveries has been launched today to help tackle extortionate delivery charges for rural Scots.
The free service, available at www.fairdeliveries.scot, is part of the Scottish Government’s response to calls to make delivery costs more transparent and more affordable for rural Scots.
It works by comparing charges for a range of parcel sizes from six major companies based on a postcode, allowing users to make an informed decision and find out which retailers deliver to their area.
Business minister Jamie Hepburn said the website will help those living in rural areas find the best deal for deliveries.
He said: “This website shines a spotlight on delivery charges, making it easier for everyone – particularly those in our rural, island and remote communities – to find the best deal and encourage companies to review their pricing.
“Our research for this new resource uncovered shocking stories of unfair charges, from a resident of Mull facing a £230 delivery charge for a television to someone in Moray asked to pay an additional £50 for the delivery of a mobility scooter despite the website advertising free delivery across the UK.
“We found that people living in the Highlands and Islands face 21% higher postal charges on average compared to South Western Scotland. If you live in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland or Orkney, you’ll face average surcharges of at least 25% compared to Glasgow and have virtually no access to home delivery.
“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in online shopping, with the delivery sector providing a lifeline. Now, more than ever, it is vital that delivery charges are fair and transparent and people have access to the information they need to make informed choices.”
Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael said: “Almost every family in the Highlands and Islands, myself included, has a story about being overcharged for deliveries. In some cases delivery costs can be even higher than the product itself. Unreasonable charges are a barrier to growth and ease of living. This has to change.”
Chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) Derek Mitchell said: "The research carried out by the Citizens Advice network over the last decade has shown that many people who live in remote and rural areas of Scotland feel that they are dealing with unfair delivery practices.
“Higher prices and a lack of transparency on pricing policies are all too common. CAS welcomes the website and publications launched today by Scottish Government and hopes that they are useful for consumers. Rural communities deserve a fair deal and CAS will continue to work with the Scottish Government to fight for their interests and to seek practical solutions."
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