Fergus Ewing hits out at rural delivery costs

Some rural consumers are still facing 'excessive' delivery charges. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Some rural consumers are still facing 'excessive' delivery charges. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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CONSUMERS in remote and rural areas of Scotland still face “excessive” delivery charges, enterprise minister Fergus Ewing has said.

He added that “unfortunately” people living in parts of the Highlands and Islands were having to pay more than those living in other parts of the UK.

That is despite principles aimed at tackling the differences in delivery charges having already been unveiled.

Mr Ewing called on companies to sign up to the statement of principles, which was developed by the Parcel Delivery Working Group last year.

These call on businesses to avoid charging disproportionate delivery costs, provide greater transparency for consumers and deliver to the widest possible area.

Mr Ewing said: “At this time of year shoppers are already starting to think about ordering online and getting in early with Christmas shopping.

“Unfortunately we’re still finding that many customers in Scotland’s Highlands and Islands are faced with disproportionate costs when it comes to the delivery of their online purchases.

“It’s not fair that people in island communities or the Highlands are being charged an excessive amount when they are ordering the same items as people in other parts of the UK.

“But it’s not just customers who are affected by postcode penalties, businesses in rural areas are also hit hard by delivery surcharges.

“Retailers should take on board our statement of principles and in turn customers, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, will receive a better service.

“I welcome the recent announcement that the statement has now been adopted across the UK. By abiding by the guidelines, online retailers can show respect for customers in all parts of the UK.”