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Highlands and Islands ‘punished’ by rip-off delivery fees

Highland and Island residents are being “punished for their postcode” by firms charging rip-off delivery fees, ministers have been told.

Research from Citizens Advice Scotland has found that those living in Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, the Highlands and the Islands pay at least 30% more on average for a delivery to the rest of mainland Britain.

In all, north of Scotland consumers forked out more than £100million in delivery charges over the last three years.

Highlands MP Jamie Stone, speaking in the Commons, called on ministers to take tougher action and “confine unfair delivery surcharges to the dustbin of history”.

Jamie Stone

Mr Stone said: “I represent a part of the world that suffers from delivery charges and surcharges, misleading delivery ads and the general feeling that we’re always being forgotten about and simply punished for our postcode.

“I put it to the minister that the standards and regulations surrounding delivery service in the UK are not doing anyone a huge amount of justice and I would suggest people up and down the breadth of our four nations are pretty cross.”

Mr Stone called on the UK and Scottish governments to “work together, stop bickering about the union, and who does what and just sort the problem out.”

The Lib Dem said complaints to delivery firms “won’t hack it” and pressed for more radical action.

Mr Stone, speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, suggested a shared distribution centre in the Highlands, with local couriers being employed to deliver packages.

“We really have to see deeply unfair delivery surcharges confined to the dustbin of history. Nobody should be victimised simply because of where they live”, he said.

Sympathy

Business Minister Paul Scully said he had “sympathy” with consumers and acknowledged that charges outside urban areas were “going beyond” what was reasonable.

Mr Scully advised consumers experiencing excessive charges to report it to Delivery Law UK.

He added: “A significant volume of enforcement work has been undertaken by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Advertising Standards Agency (AAA).

“The AASA have issued enforcement notices to online retailers were parcel surcharging practices have been raised and have achieved over 95% compliance rate.”

“Let me reassure you, the government continues to look at this issue”, he said.

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