De­liv­ery sur­charges cost­ing more

The Oban Times - - Feature -

A MIL­LION con­sumers in the High­lands and is­lands are still pay­ing more for de­liv­er­ies be­cause of sur­charges, re­search has shown.

The fig­ures, re­leased by Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Scot­land (CAS), show that in the three years since last high­light­ing the Scots post­code lottery, sur­charges for de­liv­er­ies have in­creased.

The CAS re­port, pub­lished on Tues­day, looked at fees charged by 534 in­ter­net out­lets. It shows that while fewer online re­tail­ers im­pose sur­charges for de­liv­ery to the High­lands and is­lands, those who do charge more than they did three years ago.

Scots in the High­lands now pay 17.6 per cent more and those liv­ing on is­lands pay 15.8 per cent more for de­liv­er­ies, ac­cord­ing to the fig­ures.

When fac­ing a sur­charge, a con­sumer in that area now has to pay an av­er­age £14.23 on top of the stan­dard de­liv­ery price, when in 2012 the av­er­age sur­charge was £12.10. For is­lan­ders the av­er­age sur­charge in 2015 was £14.71 com­pared to the 2012 fig­ure of £12.70.

CAS is sug­gest­ing that re­tail­ers should tell con­sumers what de­liv­ery op­er­a­tor will be used be­fore the pur­chase is made, and con­sider sim­pli­fy­ing their de­liv­ery pric­ing struc­ture.

It said de­liv­ery op­er­a­tors should en­sure a full range of de­liv­ery op­tions - in par­tic­u­lar col­lec­tion from post of­fice, lo­cal shop, lock­ers or another safe places - are made avail­able to the widest pos­si­ble range of re­tail­ers and to their cus­tomers.

CAS con­sumer spokesper­son Sarah Beat­tie- Smith said: ‘The prob­lem of high de­liv­ery charges for con­sumers in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas con­tin­ues to cause hard­ship for peo­ple right across Scot­land, im­pact­ing higher in the Scot­tish High­lands and is­lands more than in other ar­eas of the UK.

‘Our cam­paign has had some suc­cess in per­suad­ing in­di­vid­ual de­liv­ery com­pa­nies to change their ways. For ex­am­ple to­day’s re­port shows that fewer re­tail­ers now refuse to de­liver to re­mote ar­eas than was the case in 2012 and fewer add a sur­charge.

Online re­tail­ers are also more likely to com­ply with reg­u­la­tions.

‘How­ever, where a sur­charge is ap­plied, High­land and is­land con­sumers pay even more than they did three years ago, de- spite av­er­age de­liv­ery charges fall­ing in real terms. So these con­sumers pay roughly four times the av­er­age costs for de­liv­ery. Scots in ru­ral ar­eas un­der­stand that it costs a lit­tle more to de­liver to re­mote ar­eas, but this re­port shows that sur­charges add to a ‘ru­ral pre­mium’ and can have a se­ri­ous im­pact on busi­nesses and the ru­ral econ­omy.

‘To­day we’re call­ing for a con­certed ef­fort by both gov­ern­ments, work­ing with en­ter­prise bod­ies and the online re­tail in­dus­try it­self. To­gether we can and must achieve a fairer deal for con­sumers.’

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