27th May 2018
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Backing for fairer delivery charges petition

A petition which seeks to stop retailers discriminating against the islands by charging excessive postage fees has gained local support from MSP Tavish Scott.
Mr Scott said the petition highlighted “the need for a better, affordable service that local people can use”.

He added: “many courier companies either will not deliver to Shetland or cost a fortune.”

The petition – created by Isle of Wight resident Matthew Smith – aims to amend this perceived injustice by proposing that legislation be introduced to ensure that delivery cannot be refused to island residents ordering goods without considering all the postal and courier services available to the vendor.

They also ask that in the process of purchasing products any necessary additional postage charges be stated clearly at the soonest possible stage.

When there are deemed to be ‘necessary’ costs the vendor would also be expected to provide evidence for the cost of postal delivery.

Concessions will be made in certain situations such as for vendors delivering perishable groceries or takeaway food services or in the unlikely circumstance that a postal service is not available to the specified address.

The UK-wide petition comes after the Scottish government’s business minister Fergus Ewing claimed, in early November, that consumers and businesses in rural Scotland are being put at a disadvantage by unfair delivery costs applied to online purchases.

His statement followed in the wake of a report by Citizens Advice Scotland titled The Postcode Penalty: The Distance Travelled.

Mr Ewing pointed out that the report showed, “where [geographical] surcharges are applied, such charges are now higher than they were three years ago, despite average delivery charges falling in real terms.”

4 comments

  1. Mike Coventry

    2 examples
    Ordered window blinds,no mention of non delivery to iow,3 days later money returned to acct,msg saying we dont do iow
    Want to order 2 bottles of special alcohol on Amazon,they say cant deliver as its hazardous substance,found website in Soton that can deliver to iow,they would both use same ferry for delivery

    Reply
  2. Charles Gallagher

    Mike, it has always been like this. I tried to order some paint products from ‘Screwfix’ back in the late 90’s and as it was coming by courier they would not accept order because it was judged to be ‘Hazardous Cargo’. So situation is NOT NEW.

    I’m looking at the leaflet, ‘Our Services’ , Royal Mail and Parcelforce (Valid from 30th March 2015) and I must point out that these surcharges do not apply to items sent by Parcelforce.
    Charlie G

    Reply
  3. Michael Garriock

    While this may be an admirable attempt to address what is a genuine problem, its difficult to see it working in practice. Even with such legislation in place the “get out” is that any supplier could quite legitimately state that the Courier they contract their deliveries to only serves selected areas. This is already quite commonplace, with the approx Glasgow/Dundee/Aberdeen line being the northern cut off point for deliveries stated by many.

    Unless of course legislation is planned to force every Courier to cover all geographical areas of the UK before they were allowed to operate. Something which smacks a little too much for my liking of governmental dictatorship of business rather then market led free enterprise.

    I would argue that the “big stick” approach of legislating is perhaps not the best way to address this, but Rather a “carrot” approach, by everyone boycotting any retailer/Courier who does not offer reasonably priced “offshore” deliveries.

    Any retailer who cares about the trade they do with “offshore” addresses would soon up their game if it suddenly vanished, and any who doesn’t care is best identified and ignored ASAP, as with that attitude sooner or later there will be trouble with them.

    Reply
  4. John Tulloch

    @Charlie Gallagher,

    Delivery charges would more reasonable if Northlink ferry charges were less expensive.

    I realise that’s a difficult one for the SNP Scottish government when their own figures produced in parliament show Western Isles ferry subsidies rising dramatically during the last three years while northern isles ones fell substantially.

    You’re “yin ae the heid yins” in SNP Shetland so, perhaps, you can explain this?

    Reply

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