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The Postcode Penalty: Delivering Solutions

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.

With a debate set for 6th December in the Scottish Parliament, the CFU is publishing a new report, Postcode Penalty: Delivering Solutions to shed light on the issue. The research finds that:

  • Consumers in northern parts of Scotland are asked to pay at least 30% more, on average, for delivery than consumers elsewhere in Great Britain.
  • This rises to 50% on average in the Scottish islands.
  • For heavier items, people in the Highlands and Islands can be asked to pay almost four times as much as the rest of Great Britain.
  • Over 80% of consumers affected do not think the extra price is fair, with 83% saying they’d buy more online if it weren’t for the charges. 

Publishing the report, Consumer Futures Unit spokesperson Nina Ballantyne said:

“This new data is stark, and shows that people in the northern half of Scotland are hit by delivery surcharges which can be difficult to justify. 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. 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.”

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