The new website, which launches today, will inform consumers and businesses what rights they have when ordering goods online, and will make it easier for them to complain about unfair or misleading charges. www.deliverylaw.uk was developed by Highland Council but will be available to consumers and businesses across the UK.
Kristin Hartman, Citizens Advice Scotland’s postal policy officer, said:
"After pushing the issue of unfair delivery charges for a number of years, we’re delighted to see another positive move in the right direction. We would urge consumers to use the new site whenever they come across delivery charging policies that are misleading or unfair. We would also recommend that businesses use the site to make sure their delivery policies are compliant.
"However, our research shows that there is no single silver bullet for this issue, so CAS will continue to work with the postal and retail industry to secure transparent, consistent and proportionate delivery charges for consumers across Scotland."
Consumers who live north of the Central Belt in Scotland, or on Scotland’s islands, often find themselves asked to pay additional charges for delivery. A recent report from CAS suggests these additional charges are on average about 30% more than the charges paid by consumers in the rest of Great Britain. The issue can also affect small businesses.
Further research from CAS shows that more than 1 in 5 small businesses are also asked to pay additional charges when shopping online. Sometimes these charges are clear and related to higher costs of delivery, but too often there seems to be little justification for the amount charged, or consumers aren’t told about extra charges up front.