Rural Scots forking out more on delivery charges

Rural areas often face higher delivery charges from retailers.Rural areas often face higher delivery charges from retailers.
Rural areas often face higher delivery charges from retailers.
People in the Scottish Highlands are facing a postcode lottery when ordering Christmas gifts online as retailers charge more for delivery to Moray than to Surrey in England.

A report found that toy retailer Hamleys charges £10 extra delivery on Lego Star Wars, while it is free to deliver the same item to Surrey, while Converse trainers cost an extra £15 to be delivered to the Highlands but delivery to Surrey is free. Meanwhile, next year’s Collins diaries are £11.95 more expensive from Ryman to deliver to the Highlands, but just £3.95 more expensive with delivery to Surrey and a 2021 calendar from the National Railways Museum costs an extra £4 for express delivery to the Scottish Highlands.

The investigation, by the SNP, also found that the Gin Box Shop adds £8 to a bottle of SipSmith gin, but delivers free to Surrey and a laptop from is free to be delivered to Surrey, but £14.95 for delivery to the Highlands.

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A recent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) report found people in Inverness in total paid an extra £7 million in delivery charges, with people across Scotland forking out a total of £43m in additional delivery charges.

Jocasta Mann lives in Inverness.Jocasta Mann lives in Inverness.
Jocasta Mann lives in Inverness.

Jocasta Mann, a communications officer for Cairngorms national parks, lives in Inverness.

She said: “I don’t know how they come up with the figures half of the time. I am very much aware of it any time I order something and it makes me avoid certain websites. As far as I’m concerned, Inverness is Mainland UK. It’s just off the A9, which is a main arterial road. I’m curious as to how they reach the conclusion that it’s any more difficult to get a package to Inverness than anywhere else in the UK.

“I find it’s particularly a problem with independent sellers on sites like Etsy and eBay. Often, it says that they deliver to mainland UK and then it turns out later that doesn’t include the Highlands. I just fail to see the logic. It’s also annoying, because often, I have to go through the shipping process to get to the point where I find out what the cost is. The one that annoyed me the most was a Glasgow company, which was charging £10 extra to ship something to Inverness, compared to anywhere else in the UK, when it is just up the road. People feel it is, in a lot of ways, discriminatory.”

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Scots shoppers face £12m of ‘unjust’ delivery charges

Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, who has led the End Unfair Delivery Charges campaign to stop extra charges in rural areas of Scotland, said: “This year, more than ever, people have relied on online shopping to keep themselves and their families safe, but they should not be penalised because of where they live.

“Since I started my campaign some companies have recognised the unfairness of these charges, but as we can see many still continue to put the people in my constituency of Moray and other areas of the Highlands at a disadvantage by charging these costs.

He added: “I know this has been a difficult year for retailers, but consumers should not be punished as a result and I would urge any businesses who continue to implement these unfair charges to bring them to an end.”

In the summer, the Scottish Government launched a website dedicated to comparing charges for deliveries to help tackle extortionate delivery charges. The service 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 at the time that one customer on Mull had been quoted a delivery charge of £240 for a television, while someone in Moray was asked to pay an additional £50 for the delivery of a mobility scooter despite the website advertising free delivery across the UK.

The Scottish Government has previously said that people living in the Highlands and Islands face 21 per cent higher postal charges on average, compared to those living in South Western Scotland.

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