A report published by Citizens Advice Scotland has shed light on the ‘postcode penalty’ which sees island residents pay up to four time as much for delivery than consumers elsewhere in the UK.
With a debate set to be heard in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (December 6th), the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) of Citizens Advice Scotland is publishing research which shows that people in northern Scotland pay a ‘postcode penalty’ of up to 50% in surcharges imposed by delivery companies.
The new report – ‘Postcode Penalty: Delivering Solutions’ – sheds light on the issue as CFU hope to work with the Scottish Government and local authorities to identify ‘suitable trial projects’ aimed at reducing costs in 2018.
The CFU research found that consumers in northern parts of Scotland are asked to pay at least 30% more, on average, for delivery than elsewhere in Great Britain.
In the Scottish islands the extra cost rises to 50% on average – and for heavier items, people in the Highlands and Islands can be asked to pay almost four times as much as their UK counterparts.
And, not surprisingly, the report details that over 80% of consumers affected do not think the extra price is fair; with 83% saying they would buy more online if it weren’t for the charges.
“This new data is stark and shows that people in the northern half of Scotland are hit by deliver surcharges which can be difficult to justify,” said Consumer Futures Unit spokesperson Nina Ballantyne.
“This is not just a problem for remote and rural areas. The areas affected include Perthshire, Morayshire, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, as well as the Highlands and Islands.
“In addition, many online retailers are not transparent about the charges, so consumers are unable to make informed choices.”
She continued: “We believe that any delivery charges should be up-front and justifiable, and would like to see consistent pricing policies across the UK.
“We are committed to finding solutions for consumers and are working with delivery companies and other consumer groups to reduce delivery costs and improve transparency.
“We hope to identify suitable trial projects in the coming year, in partnership with the Scottish Government, local authorities and communities.”