22nd September 2018
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Scott calls for end to high delivery charges

MSP Tavish Scott has welcomed a debate in the Scottish Parliament on delivery charges to the Highlands and Islands.

Meanwhile a report by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) shows that while there are fewer online retailers who impose surcharges than there were three years ago, those retailers who do apply surcharges have increased their charges, Shetland residents now pay 15.8 per cent in charges than they did in 2012.

Tavish Scott at Bressay Hall to cast his vote. Photo: Jim Nicolson

Tavish Scott has welcomed the debate on delivery charges.        Photo: Jim Nicolson

Welcoming the report, titled The Postcode Penalty: The Distance Travelled, Mr Scott said: “I want to thank Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau who were one of the main sponsors of the report which has been crucial in highlighting the unfair treatment which Shetland residents have endured for far too long.

“Online retailers should ensure that their delivery pricing policies do not discriminate against consumers on the basis of their location. I am aware of cases where Shetland residents who ordered small items, were charged nearly ten times more than the item cost in delivery charges. They should also ensure that a greater range of delivery options are available to their customers and they should ask themselves whether these surcharges are really necessary.

“I would also reiterate my calls for the Scottish Government to extend the availability of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) to Shetland-bound freight vehicles and to work with Serco Northlink to enable final mile consolidation to reduce the cost of deliveries.”

Mr Scott pointed out that Shetland residents do not have the same access to retail outlets as their mainland counterparts.

He added that it was vital that the Scottish Government works with the CAS, trading standards services, Serco Northlink, the online retail industry and enterprise bodies “in order to effect change for the benefit of communities in Shetland and elsewhere.”

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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6 comments

  1. Kathy Greaves

    I am glad that Tavish is taking up this issue at last, we Shetlanders have been complaining about high cost of delivery to Shetland for years, and also the fact that some companies will not post even small items to us. I hope he gets somewhere with this important issue.

    Reply
  2. Johan Adamson

    Is it not just a market issue? Just buy from companies which use the good old post office and then dont need to charge extra.

    Reply
  3. David Spence

    It reminds me of the experience I had with postal charges, Kathy.

    I was looking for music software on the Internet, and came across some which was selling for £14.99. I phoned up the company, which were based in Birmingham, to enquire about the software, and what it could do. After a wee conversation, I asked how much would it cost to post the cd (just a cd, no book, packaging or anything of that nature) to the Shetland Islands. They said……….and wait for it……..£36.99. I could not believe my ears. I asked why was the cost so much, where they said ‘ The Shetland Islands are classified as abroad by our Courier. ‘. I also asked why they could not use the Post Office, where the cost was significantly lower. They said they had a contract with the Courier, and so they had no option but to use them. On that note, I just said ‘ Well, cancel the order. Thank you ‘, and hung up.

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      So in this case you speak of market forces worked. They tried to overcharge for delivery and you refused and they lost the sale. Though why did you not download it.

      Reply
  4. Kathy Greaves

    Last year The Daily Telegraph had an offer of poppy seeds, which I tried to order (it was only a few seeds in a packet, put in an envelope), but was told that they did not send anything to Shetland – it was a ‘directors’ decision’. As I wanted to sow them to commemorate the beginning of the first world war I had them post them to family in Edinburgh, where it was sent on to me! What a palaver, same with bushes – the company would not send them to Shetland, Shetland was not even on their map!

    Reply
  5. Robin Stevenson

    While ignoring Tavish’s take on how RET actually works, here is the actual report for those interested:

    http://www.cas.org.uk/publications/postcode-penalty-business-burden#overlay-context=tools/publications-reporting

    Reply

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