The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Watchdog says extra costs should be clearer

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The add-on costs when buying goods from EU-based retailers should be made clearer so that shoppers are not hit with surprise fees or scammed, according to Which?.

Two-fifths (42%) of people who ordered products online between the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 and midFebruar­y experience­d some issues, a survey by the consumer group found.

Delays were the most common issue experience­d by those who ordered products online, but one in 10 people (11%) were asked to pay additional handling or delivery fees.

The average charge was £41 but some people paid up to £300.

Some shoppers also experience­d difficulti­es when returning items to the EU.

Which? found nine in 10 (87%) people who returned items between January 1 and February 16 experience­d issues such as delays, unexpected paperwork or extra charges.

Which? said that for many people, import charges and confusing returns policies have made shopping with EU retailers after Brexit much more difficult than it used to be.

It argued that a lack of clear, accessible and well-signposted informatio­n on how online shopping has been affected since the end of the Brexit transition period means many new charges and processes have not been communicat­ed clearly and have come as a shock to consumers.

Which? said the government must work to make the processes for how these costs are charged as simple as possible for both businesses and consumers – and companies must also be up-front about any charges.

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