Scots shoppers face £12m of ‘unjust’ delivery charges
It has prompted fresh calls for the new UK government to “get a grip” of the extra costs associated with getting parcels delivered to rural areas of the country.
It has already emerged that Scottish shoppers were forced to fork out an extra £40.1 million this year in delivery surcharges relative to the rest of the UK, according to figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).
The latest figures for the festive period, obtained by Nationalist MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead, will largely affect people living in the Highlands and other northern areas of Scotland.
Mr Lochhead said: “Westminster has the powers to put an end to rip-off parcel delivery surcharges for Scots – but for too long now successive UK governments have sat on their hands and done nothing.
“It is completely unjust that shoppers across Scotland are expected to fork out huge sums of money each year on these surcharges.
“Alongside my colleagues in Westminster I have led the campaign and repeatedly raised this issue with UK ministers but they have refused to listen, while delivery surcharges continue to hit the pockets of families across Scotland.
“It’s time for the next UK government to take some real concrete action and get a grip of these sky-high surcharge fees.”
Lochhead has now handed two dossiers of evidence to the ASA, which can clamp down on firms that make misleading claims, like “free mainland delivery”, then hit consumers in the north with fees.
Among the examples cited in the documents was a delivery to Forfar for a wood burning stove fan from a supplier on Amazon. The fan was valued at £31.99 plus free UK delivery. When the postcode for Forfar was entered, the cost of the delivery shot up to £35. A delivery to Nairn for a pair of epaulettes was valued at £25, with £5.40 delivery. But when the Nairn postcode was entered, it become £18 delivery.
The UK’s Government’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) a dedicated parcel surcharging website was launched to better support consumers and businesses concerned about parcel surcharging last year.
A spokesman added: “Businesses must show clear and upfront delivery charges so customers can shop elsewhere if charges are excessive. We are working closely with consumer groups to assess what more can be done to protect remote communities.”