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Fight back over cost of delivering to the north

By Scott Maclennan

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delivery charges
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A new campaign launched in the Highlands aims to name and shame greedy online retailers that are over-charging people in the north for parcel deliveries.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn travelled to the Highland capital to launch the Fairer Deliveries For All: An Action Plan with council leader Margaret Davidson and others behind the project.

Also there was MSP Richard Lochhead, who helped launch the campaign against surcharges that are 30 per cent more expensive for those in the Highlands and Islands than the rest of the UK.

The campaign will establish a Scottish parcel delivery map to track “discrepancies” and identify significant price-hikes while a delivery law UK website is already up and running.

Mrs Davidson said: “Claims like ‘free Mainland delivery’ or ‘standard UK delivery’ prove to be no such thing as huge swathes of territory in the north of Scotland are excluded for no good reason.”

Mr Hepburn said: “We have known that the challenge of delivery charges and the lack of transparency in delivery charges particularly affecting rural charges has been an issue for some time.

“We do have some evidence but through the Scottish Government the action plan is to try and gather more evidence so we can continue to take this head on, continue to call upon the UK government who have legislative responsibility for this matter to take more concerted action.”

Surcharge regulation is reserved to Westminster so Holyrood cannot ban the practice, so the minister for higher education and science, Mr Lochhead, will be lobbying next week for legislative change.

He said: “Over the last couple of years of my campaign, and of course many people across the north of Scotland campaign on this issue, I have been given really absurd examples of really astronomical surcharges that people have been charged by online retailers.

“Some deliver for free, some for a minimal cost but others really are ripping households and businesses off so it is great to see this momentum behind the campaign.”

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