Scots paying an “astonishing” £36.3million more each year in delivery charges

The campaign for fair delivery charges received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament.

Scots are paying £36.3million more than the rest of the UK for “extortionate” delivery charges, it has been revealed.

The figure, which was branded “astonishing” last night, was revealed after expert independent analysis was carried out by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.

Advertising watchdog warns firms they could be punished for delivery charge disparity

It found that Scottish residents were paying an average of 23p more than the rest of the UK for a letterbox-sized parcel, a 49p surcharge for each 1-20kg delivery, £5.06 extra for a 20-30kg package, and an additional £11.11 for those weighed 30-50kg.

The research was highlighted by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who launched his Fair Delivery Charges website last month after first raising the issue a year ago.

The battle to end the practice has gathered pace in recent weeks with the Advertising Standards Authority saying firms could be penalised for misleading claims about delivery areas, and Moray MP Douglas Ross due to lead a Westminster debate on the issue today.

Mr Lochhead said the campaign website had so far received over 2,000 submissions from the public and has highlighted examples of absurd surcharges that are too often levied on Scottish consumers.

He said: “It is absolutely astonishing that online shoppers in Scotland are having to spend an estimated additional £36.3million each year on parcel delivery surcharges compared to the rest of the UK simply because of where they live.

“This Christmas will be more expensive for many Scots online shoppers because of parcel delivery surcharges that are applied without any justification to many northern postcodes.

“Many retailers deliver free or for a modest cost but others apply eye watering surcharges amounting to a whopping £36.3million in extra costs.

“So far, my campaign has led to the UK Government agreeing to review rip-off surcharges and inspired action from the Advertising Standards Authority to crackdown on the firms that are charging extortionate delivery fees for residents and businesses in rural Scotland.”

He added: “Rural Scotland is home to some of the most loyal online shoppers and in the run up to Christmas I will continue campaigning and piling the pressure on retailers to end the rip-off surcharge facing too many Scottish consumers.

“This new research vindicates a campaign that has caught the public imagination and won support across Scotland and the political spectrum.

“It’s now time for the authorities to act and for every retailer to review its delivery charges and to stop discriminating against many parts of Scotland.”