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A parcel of rogues: Minister launches website to halt rip-off delivery charges

© Jane Barlow/PA WirePost Thumbnail

Ministers have launched a delivery charge website to help Scots customers avoid rip-off fees.

The free service is part of the Scottish Government’s plan to make delivery charges more transparent and after, entering a postcode, compares charges for a range of parcel sizes from six major companies.

Users from around Scotland can also find which online UK retailers deliver to their area.

The Sunday Post has previously highlighted concerns from customers in rural communities angry at being hit with “rip-off” surcharges with officials suggesting Scots are paying £40 million a year extra on delivery charges.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said the new website will “shine a spotlight” on delivery fees.

“This will make it easier for everyone – particularly those in our rural, island and remote communities – to find the best deal and encourage companies to review their pricing,” he said. “Our research uncovered shocking stories of unfair charges, from a resident of Mull facing a £230 delivery charge for a television to someone in Moray asked to pay an additional £50 for the delivery of a mobility scooter.

“We found that people living in the Highlands and Islands face 21% higher postal charges on average compared to South Western Scotland. If you live in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland or Orkney, you’ll face average surcharges of at least 25% compared to Glasgow.”

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre has calculated the annual cost of delivery fees in Scotland has now risen to around £40m.

Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), said: “Higher prices and a lack of transparency on pricing policies are all too common. CAS welcomes the website and publications launched today by the Scottish Government and hopes that they are useful for consumers.”

Timothy Brown, 39, a fire fighter from Lossiemouth, Moray, paid through the nose when he bought a swing and play frame for his children during lockdown from a UK-based company.

The firm offers free UK delivery for purchases of more than £80 for most areas of mainland UK, but this excludes Moray. The swing and play frame cost £529. Mr Brown was quoted £132 on top for delivery – which he reluctantly agreed to pay. He said: “I decided stump up and pay, but I don’t think it was fair.”