A ‘name and shame’ list of companies who charge excessive delivery costs to customers in the Western Isles is to be submitted to the UK Government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) within the next week.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil will tomorrow (Friday January 11th) send a list compiled from customers in the Western Isles to Jamie Stone MP, as part of a campaign to expose mail order companies who actively discriminate against customers in the Highlands and Islands.
It’s part of a dual campaign between MPs and MSPs, with Islands MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Wednesday January 9th) revealing the cost to island consumers of excess delivery charges to be £2.66 million in 2018.
The Scottish Government has launched an action plan on tackling unfair delivery charges under the leadership of Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray.
But the power to regulate parcel delivery surcharging is reserved to the UK Government, so a cross-party group of Highlands and Islands MPs have also formed a campaign. Jamie Stone is the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
Last year he raised complaints with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the BEIS Kelly Tolhurst MP. Following that meeting, MPs from across the region, including Mr MacNeil, united to get evidence from their own constituents.
In December Mr MacNeil asked Western Isles constituents to pass him details of companies who levied unfair delivery charges when they tried to order goods. He also asked for details of companies who simply refuse to deliver to addresses in the islands.
Among those companies who had disappointed island customers, traders on e-bay were notable for widely varying charges and delivery conditions.
Mr NacNeil said: “I was not surprised to receive so much feedback from constituents regarding excessive delivery charges. One of the issues highlighted through this exercise is the fact that many firms do not charge high costs, but simply refuse to deliver to the islands at all.
“Island consumers should have access to the same goods and services and not face excessive costs and refusal of delivery. Following this exercise, I will be contacting ebay regarding their policy on allowing sellers to charge an additional fee for Highlands and Islands delivery rather than the standard UK price. This matter was brought to my attention by several constituents.”