An online retailer has announced it has reviewed its courier fees to the north of Scotland following pressure from fair delivery charges campaigners.
American-based company Wayfair, which sells home goods across the world, previously refused free postage to “remote areas” of the UK on orders more than £40 – despite offering it for elsewhere.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead described the charge as “discriminatory” to Scottish customers after it was revealed the cost covered 12 postcode areas – including Aberdeen and Inverness.
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Now the retailer has announced it has changed its policies for large parcel orders.
Mr Lochhead said: “Although we have seen a number of companies review their practices, many Scots in the north still struggle with sky-high delivery costs.
“The public outcry is leading to action and I’m pleased Wayfair has listened, although I will be continuing to discuss with them and others what more can be done.
“Hopefully others who slap unfair, discriminatory charges on Scots consumers will follow suit. Retails who offer free delivery to mainland UK need to ensure they include mainland Scotland, as anything else is potentially illegal.”
It is estimated that Scottish customers paid about £38 milliion on delivery surcharges last year – with the average extra fee being £19.
Citizens Advice Scotland believes about one million Scots are being routinely ripped off or face late delivery when buying goods online.
This week it was revealed that the UK Government would not introduce legislation to tackle the issue, instead choosing to work with businesses and agencies to understand the problem.
Wayfair, which had annual revenues of £5.2 billion last year, said its growing presence in the country had allowed it to reduce its delivery costs.
The retailer’s head of Europe, Martin Reiter, said: “We are thrilled to announce that we have expanded our free UK delivery network to our customers in all of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Over the past three years our European brand awareness and footprint has grown tremendously, allowing us to scale our fast and seamless delivery of furnishings and decor.”
Wayfair will continue to charge £4.99 for all deliveries under £40, which is applicable across the whole of the UK.
A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Energy said: “The Royal Mail provides a universal service at a uniform price throughout the United Kingdom. Businesses must show clear and upfront delivery charges so customers can shop elsewhere if charges are excessive.
“The government has been working closely with consumer groups to assess what more can be done to protect remote communities.”