Christmas parcels push delivery charges to rural Scotland to £38m

Rural Scots have been hit with a £38 million bill for parcel delivery surcharges, a report has shown.

Delivery charges have soared to rural Scotland
Delivery charges have soared to rural Scotland

Research from the Scottish Parliament’s information centre, SpiCE said that 510,238 Scottish adults are impacted by delivery surcharges in rural areas, while the amount charged to Scottish customers had risen from £36.3m last year. It said the average 
additional annual cost 
per Scottish adult impacted by delivery surcharges is 
estimated at £74.64, while 
the total cost over the Christmas period to the Scottish adult population impacted 
by delivery surcharges is £11.4m.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead, whose Fair Delivery Charges campaign has worked in an attempt to bring an end to rural delivery costs, described the rising fees are “hugely frustrating”.

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He said: “It is hugely frustrating to see that shoppers in Scotland are being forced to fork out an additional £38.1 million each year on parcel delivery surcharges, and a shocking £11.4 million extra over Christmas, simply because of where they live.

“Scottish consumers in rural areas - who are often more dependent on online shopping than those who live on the mainland – should not have to live with these eye-watering surcharges that are often imposed randomly and not by all retailers. Having to pay extra delivery charges can really hit families in the pocket, especially when buying Christmas presents for friends and family.”

Nina Ballantyne, policy manager for Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “It’s disappointing that almost a million people in Scotland are still subject to higher than average delivery costs, and even more disappointing to find out that those costs have increased. CAS is working hard to encourage parcel companies and retailers to find solutions.”

The campaign has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament, and has been backed by online retailers such as eBay. The Advertising Standards Authority has also investigated a dossier of over 200 companies.