THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT will be asked today to take action that would end unfair postal surcharges being imposed on customers with IV Postcodes.
Recent research by Citizens Advice Scotland revealed that around half of all online retailers in the UK make an additional charge for delivery to Moray and the Highlands and Islands.
Now the independent MSP John Finnie is to lead a debate at the Scottish Parliament today in which he will call on the government to take a raft of measures that would end the practice of imposing surcharges.
Mr Finnie will ask for an extension of Road Equivalent Tariff ferry fares to larger vehicles and so cutting the cost of delivery to the islands. For hard-hit mainland customers who suffer from the IV postcode surcharges he will ask that the government work with retailers and delivery companies.
The MSP will request that retailers are told to reduce or scrap their surcharges and make use of all the options available – including deliveries via local shops and post offices for collection.
“Online shopping is hugely important for people in rural and remote areas, which has brought them access to shopping choices that people in big cities take for granted,” Mr Finnie said, adding: “But with around half of online retailers charging often extortionate delivery surcharges, and some refusing to deliver to parts of the Highlands and Islands altogether, consumers in our part of Scotland are paying an unfair postcode penalty.
“The good news is that the proportion of retailers that charge the penalty is slowly coming down, but the average surcharge from those that still do has gone up from £12 three years ago to £14 today.
“Citizens’ Advice Scotland have even reported absurd delivery charges, like £40 to deliver a £6 roll of parcel tape, and £50 on a bakery tool costing just £1.15.”
Mr Finnie is calling on all online retailers to look at the example set by 50% of their competitors who do not penalise customers in the north of Scotland.
He said: “I suspect most companies who took the time to look at the situation would find they could reduce or scrap the surcharge.
“With a little innovation and collaboration, there’s no reason why every retailer should have to make a separate trip to every village or island – we can work smarter than that.
“I’m very pleased to have been able to bring this issue to the Scottish Parliament chamber for debate.
“As always, I’m thankful for the great work of Citizens’ Advice Scotland, whose research and campaigning has been fundamental to challenging the postcode penalty.”
insideMoray launch ‘Naughty or Nice’ list in time for Christmas!
Today insideMoray is launching a ‘Naughty or Nice’ list of online retailers who impose unjust levies on deliveries to Moray. To help in creating the list to inform people in the run-up to Christmas, readers are being asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of online retailers, item(s) ordered and the delivery charges they impose on addresses in Moray.
This can include eBay or any other ‘businesses’ that flag up “We do not deliver to the Scottish Highlands” on their listings.
We would also like to hear about good experiences, companies – such as Amazon UK – who do not impose any surcharges and deliver at the same rates as they do for all parts of the UK.
Data will then be collated and posted on a new area of www.insidemoray.scot for all to see.