A major online retailer has waived its delivery surcharge for customers in remote parts of Scotland - including the Highlands and islands.
Wayfair said it had decided to cut the charge for orders over £40 - expanding its free shipping network to all customers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Orders under £40 are subject to a £4.99 charge regardless of the delivery address.
MSP Richard Lochhead, who has headed a longstanding campaign to have charges removed - the Fair Delivery Charges campaign - said he had spoken to Wayfair about the issue a few weeks ago. Lochhead’s campaign has unearthed widespread examples of homes in mainland Scotland, even in built up areas, being categorised as “offshore” for delivery purposes and incurring substantial unexpected costs.
He said: “I’ve been in touch with the major retailers over the last two years seeking action to tackle sky high parcel delivery surcharges with my most recent letter to Wayfair being sent last month.
"Far too many retailers are still imposing outrageous charges on many Scots postcodes when others deliver for free or for a modest surcharge. Some retailers don’t event deliver at all to certain areas of the country which is discriminatory.”
Studies have found that Scots pay millions of pounds more per year than online shoppers in the rest of the UK, while a study for Citizens Advice Scotland found that those living in the north and north-east of Scotland pay around a third more for delivery than consumers elsewhere, with the figure rising to 50 per cent more on average for the Scottish islands.
Martin Reiter, head of Europe for US-based Wayfair, said: “We are thrilled to announce that we have expanded our free UK delivery network to our customers in all of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Over the past three years our European brand awareness and footprint has grown tremendously, allowing us to scale our fast and seamless delivery of furnishings and decor to offer a best in class shopping experience for home.
"Starting now we are pleased to offer free UK delivery on all orders over £40 - from a small parcel decor order to a large parcel furniture set - at no extra charge to our customers regardless of where they live.”