Scots 'fleeced' by £41m in online delivery charges for remote areas

Residents in the Highlands and Islands are paying on average 21% more for delivery than those in the south of the country.

Scots in Highlands and Islands ‘fleeced’ by £41m in surplus online delivery charges iStock

Scottish shoppers are being “fleeced” by £41m in delivery charges in an “unacceptable postcode lottery”, the SNP have claimed.

The SNP have demanded action from the Westminster Government after new official figures revealed postal charges in regional areas of Scotland are on average 21% higher than in the south west of the country.

The latest IPSOS data, comes as research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) showed the annual costs incurred by residents in areas commonly impacted by parcel delivery surcharges totalled a staggering £41m.

Companies are currently able to charge inflated rates for delivery, with those in the Highlands and Islands most affected.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has lead calls for action and said Tory Ministers have so-far refused to review legislation which would prevent surcharges.

He has renewed calls for the UK Government to “crack down on this unfair a postcode lottery” and said: “It is incredibly disappointing that Westminster has ignored every previous call from myself and others to crack down on this unfair postcode lottery, which costs people a fortune across Scottish communities. This is also an issue for businesses that need to source or sell goods online.

“People should not be expected to meet these unfair prices on top of existing additional costs on other everyday items as a result of the Tory cost of living crisis. It could not be more urgent that the UK Government tackle the companies which charge inflated rates for delivery in parts of Scotland.”

He said residents in the constituency of Moray have experienced instances of lorries driving past households which pay large surcharges in order to get to households who are entitled to free delivery.

The MSP added: “The extent of the discrepancies that some Scottish households have to pay for the basic ability to shop online – an option that many rely on – are truly staggering. There is no rhyme nor reason to these many of these charges given some retailers delivery free or for minimal costs and others charge a small fortune.

“How much longer will Westminster allow this unacceptable postcode lottery to go on? It’s time to crack down on this unfair practice once and for all.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Consumer protection laws require retailers to be upfront about their charges and the Royal Mail provides a universal parcel service at a standard price throughout the United Kingdom thanks to legislation the UK Government put in place in 2011.

“The Consumer Protection Partnership continues to look at delivery issues faced by those in certain regions. Ultimately, it is for retailers to decide on how to provide their delivery service to customers, and those facing issues should speak to retailers directly.”

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