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Rural Scots still face unfair prices despite delivery code

The Scottish Countryside Alliance calls for action as consumer campaigners warn a voluntary pricing code on deliveries is inadequate after it emerged one company was imposing a near-100 per cent surcharge for sending parcels to nearly half of Scotland.

 

Just weeks after Scotland’s Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP called on online retailers and delivery firms to work to developed guidelines giving people in rural areas fair delivery charges. The Statement of Principles for Parcel Deliveries was developed by a working group set up by Consumer Futures, now part of Citizens Advice Scotland, and the Scottish Government.

It would now seem that as well as the Highlands and Islands, those ordering from other rural areas of Scotland will have to pay an £6 on top of the standard delivery charge of £6.99 for certain items ordered from one provider “DealMonster”, an online deals platform that claims shoppers can find local deals with savings of up to 70 per cent.

Independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands Jean Urquhart said it showed a voluntary code is "far too little, far too late". "This is one of the worst examples we have seen," she added.

Kate Morrison, from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), said the DealMonster was "an extreme example" but by no means unique, with thousands of examples of companies charging hugely inflated prices reported to CAS.

"We have presented all our evidence to ministers in both UK and Scottish Government and worked alongside government representatives, online retailers, parcel delivery operators and consumer organisations to produce a UK-wide statement of principles for parcel deliveries."

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