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The ‘Postcode Penalty’: 1 Million Scots Hit by Unfair Delivery Charges

19 Dec 2012

Over 1 million Scots are being ‘routinely ripped off’ by unfair delivery charges because of where they live, according to new evidence published today by Citizens Advice Scotland. 

CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee says:

“The CAB service is all about fighting unfairness, standing up for consumer rights and empowering people. This campaign does all of these things. Many Scots are being routinely ripped off by unfair and unjustifiable delivery charges just because of where they live. That is clearly and deeply unfair, and it cannot be allowed to continue un-challenged. 

“A year ago today we published our first report on this issue, and asked consumers to report their experiences to us. We were frankly overwhelmed by the response. Over 2,000 Scots responded in just a few weeks, telling us extraordinary stories of over-charging, late delivery, poor customer service and in some cases a refusal to deliver to their area at all. We promised then that that was only the beginning of our campaign, and so we have spent the year researching more evidence and working with partners to fight for a fair deal. 

“We passed all of these complaints to Trading Standards, who have done a brilliant job of pursuing every one of them. Meanwhile, we at CAS have been researching the hundreds of companies identified, and examining their delivery policies – many of which are based on an ignorance of Scottish geography. For example, some companies believe that Inverness is off-shore, and that Aberdeen is in the Highlands. 

“We present this information today to show that this unfairness is affecting more people than is commonly realised. This campaign has had some success in persuading some companies to change their ways – most notably Ebay, which has adjusted its policies as a result of being presented with this evidence. But we call today on all online companies to examine their delivery policies and make sure they are not applying this unfair postcode penalty on Scotland.

“We also urge any consumer who has an example of this unfair treatment to report it to the Trading Standards office at their local Council. This campaign is ‘people power’ in action, and we need everyone affected to come forward and join us in fighting for a fair deal.” 

CAS spokespeople are available for interview on this story, either on Wednesday or recorded in advance. We also have a number of case studies available for interview. Contact us on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655.

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