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.
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.”