A campaign to end unfair and unclear charges on deliveries to rural areas, with its roots in Skye and Lochalsh CAB, has won support from the UK Government. Jo Swinson, Consumer Affairs Minister and MP for East Dunbartonshire, will launch the UK-wide statement of principles for parcel deliveries, based upon a document first drawn up by CAS, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Retail Consortium, on Thursday 31st July in Glasgow.
CAS’s close involvement with rural deliveries dates back to 2012, when its survey on this issue elicited over 3000 responses from people in Scotland fed up with not receiving promised ‘free delivery’ or being denied service totally because of where they live. This survey itself was inspired by Skye and Lochalsh CAB bringing the issue to the attention of CAS. Since this initial work, CAS has worked with many partners, including the business community, to establish a full picture of just how serious a problem delivery charges are to the rural communities of Scotland, and also to establish good practice, as outlined in the statement of principles.
Margaret Lynch, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said:
"We strongly welcome the support this statement of principles has now received from the UK Government.
“This UK wide statement is recognition that unfair prices and practices for parcels should not and will not be tolerated by consumers, regardless of where they live and where they choose to buy their goods from.
“Consumers in Scotland know all too well that unfair prices can be hugely detrimental for families and businesses alike and that delays and wasted time on websites makes shopping online an incredibly frustrating experience. For online retailers too, transparent and equitable delivery charges mean fewer abandoned shopping carts and repeat custom.
“The fact that this statement has attracted the support of the business community, trading standards and government alike is testament to the hard work and determination of consumers and community campaigners like those in Skye and Lochalsh CAB who first started this campaign. We hope that people across the country will now use this statement of principles to hold retailers to a higher standard and ensure that the postcode penalty suffered by so many can become a thing of the past."
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- The ‘Free Delivery*’ report from December 2011 outlining our initial findings on rural deliveries is available here: /publications/free-delivery
- The ‘Postcode Penalty’ report from December 2012 focussing on the detrimental effects of unfair and unclear charges on Scottish Consumers is available here, this is based on a CAS survey filled out by over 3000 angry consumers: /publications/postcode-penalty
- The ‘Postcode Penalty: The Business Burden’ report from April 2014, based on over 300 business responses to a CAS survey is available here: /news/postcode-penalty-business-burden