A campaign to crack down on the expensive charges imposed to deliver items to rural Scotland has been stepped up with another 100 companies reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
A dossier giving details of firms who advertise free or low cost deliveries which then rocket with the imposition of “unfair” surcharges has been handed to the ASA.
The dossier is the second to be compiled by SNP MSP Richard Lochhead, who has been running a long-standing Fair Delivery Charges campaign. Among the examples cited in the document 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.
A company was selling home brew kits at £58 and advertising free deliver for orders of more than £49. However when the Dornoch postcode was entered, there was a delivery charge of £19.09. A delivery to North Uist for toothpaste costing £6.49 had a delivery charge of £18.
Other surcharges included £30 for delivery of a car rear guard to Moray, despite the website stating £9.60 delivery to “Highlands and Islands”.
Mr Lochhead said: “This false advertising and discrimination against consumers and businesses in many parts of Scotland has to stop. “A recent survey found that nearly one in four small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland have to pay delivery surcharges because of their location, and over one in five experience delivery delays for the same reason. “Delivery surcharges are estimated to cost consumers in Scotland £36 million a year – it’s completely unacceptable to penalise consumers and businesses because of their location with some retailers applying absurd delivery surcharges.”
The first dossier the campaign submitted to the ASA listed 120 firms. It led to the watchdog imposing an enforcement notice in April which threatens legal action if companies are not clear about extra delivery charges.
A spokesman for the ASA said: “We can confirm that we have received the document and we are considering it carefully.”