The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Stand and delivery as Scots customers get hit with £11m in extra charges for Christmas parcels


For some, Christmas is not about giving but fleecing

Scotswill pay up to £11.4 million extra for deliveries over Christmas, according to figures.

Online firms are still penalising shoppers in Scotland, particular­ly those living outside of the bigger cities and towns.

MSP Richard Lochhead, who has been campaignin­g on the issue, said shoppers north of the Border have been forced to pay £36m a year more than people living elsewhere in the UK.

He is outraged at new figures from the Scottish Parliament Informatio­n Centre which reveal that the festive bill from October to December could account for nearly a third of this amount.

“It is absolutely astonishin­g that online shoppers in Scotland still face an £11.4 million penalty in the form of parcel delivery surcharges this Christmas,” he said.

“As far as some retailers are concerned Christmas is not about giving but about fleecing. This is a huge additional cost and all because of parcel delivery surcharges that are applied without any justificat­ion to mainly northern postcodes. Many retailers deliver free or for a modest cost but others apply eyewaterin­g surcharges.”

Online retailers are now facing a crackdown on these charges as UK ministers finally admit that action to curb fees is needed.

Minister for Small Business Kelly Tolhurst has indicated that the Scottish Government could launch a review into current legislatio­n, which could lead to new regulation on prices.

Mr Lochhead met the minister last week, soon after the Scottish Government launched an initiative to publicly name and shame firms charging massive fees for rural customers.

He said: “Rural Scotland is home to some of the most loyal online shoppers and in the run-up to Christmas. I will continue campaignin­g and piling the pressure on retailers to end the rip-off surcharge facing too many Scottish consumers.

“It’s now time for the authoritie­s to act and for every retailer to review its delivery charges and to stop discrimina­ting against many parts of Scotland.”

Charges for parcel delivery for Highlands and Islands addresses are more than 30% higher on average than those on the mainland.

In Golspie, Sutherland, David Crayton, 59, is sick of being charged extra because delivery companies refuse to believe he lives on the mainland.

He said because he has a KW postcode – the same as Kirkwall in Orkney – couriers assume he lives on an island.

“It is ridiculous. I have tried to explain that I’m on the mainland, not in Orkney, but companies just won’t listen.” David said he has given up on ordering big-ticket items such as washing machines or fridges online because he gets charged an extra £30 for delivery.

“People in Rogart, just six miles down the road, don’t have to pay any surcharges because they have an Inverness postcode. I’m caught in a no-man’s land.”

In Inverness, photograph­er John Macpherson, 60, is also fuming about surcharges.

“I wanted to buy a crash helmet from London which offered free delivery but it cost £29 to send it to Inverness,” he said.

“I also discovered it was only £9.99 to deliver the same item to countries like Croatia and Estonia.”

John said when he also tried to order car parts online from England, surcharges to the Highlands were in the same price bracket as delivering to the Caribbean. Following Mr Lochhead’s campaign, the Advertisin­g Standards agency promised to issue enforcemen­t notices to companies making excess charges, while Amazon and ebay have pledged to ban third-party sellers for overchargi­ng.

 ??  ?? Shoppers north of Border pay £36m a year extra in charges
Shoppers north of Border pay £36m a year extra in charges

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