Following a successful discussion with regulators, industry and consumer groups, an action plan is being proposed by Scottish Ministers to tackle the injustice of unfair delivery charges in rural areas.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, chaired the meeting with parcel delivery companies, businesses, consumer groups and regulatory bodies to discuss how services and charges can be made fairer, better and more transparent.
This follows a parliamentary debate last December, which identified poor practice was widespread across Scotland.
Parcel delivery services, particularly in rural and northern Scotland, have long been considered unfair, with surcharges and refusal to deliver to certain locations as well as mainland areas mistakenly identified as islands, costing customers in Scotland an additional £36 million each year.
The roundtable was organised to encourage collaboration between retailers and delivery companies to find sustainable and cost-effective solutions.
Topics discussed included:
- holding an annual Fair Delivery Day
- the need to undertake economic analysis to best understand what fair delivery prices are
- scope for technology to support greater collaboration between retailers and delivery companies to reduce costs faced by those in rural and remote areas
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said “The Scottish Government and Members of the Scottish Parliament have long called for an end to the unfair delivery charges that many Scottish communities face.
“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to regulate delivery surcharges, and this meeting brought together key partners, including delivery companies and consumer groups, to discuss how we can ensure that the market works in the interests of Scottish consumers and businesses.
“We had an open and focussed discussion on a range of issues and I look forward to working with the industry, and elected Members who have led on this issue, to progress the proposals discussed to support Scottish consumers.”
Richard Lochhead, MSP, said “Often absurd parcel delivery surcharges and misleading offers of free delivery have hit consumers and businesses in Moray unfairly and disproportionately – costing local households £2.28m each year.
“While it’s one thing to raise awareness – and recognition of this issue has never been greater – it’s important that businesses, regulators and governments take action.
“The campaign against unfair delivery surcharges began in Moray but is now a national issue, following my parliamentary debate and continued campaigning. It is good to see the Scottish Government take swift action and I hope the UK Government which, after all has regulatory responsibility, will now do likewise.