Parcel service can end rip-off in fees for Ross-shire residents
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Highland Parcels, an initiative introduced by Menzies Distribution, will charge a fixed fee of £4.99 for all deliveries across the north.
Customers can have their goods delivered to the firm’s depot in Linwood, after which they will be delivered to anywhere in the Highlands.
The scheme effectively rules out rip-off charges which have been imposed by some retailers and other couriers for years – particularly prevalent in the run-up to Christmas.
Menzies general manager Fraser Maclean said: “We are not really seeing a change in companies’ attitudes towards delivery charges and that has been disappointing. It shouldn’t have to be the case that a carrier has to get involved to find a solution.
“We have come up with something to try and deal with the problem because it seems that nobody else is willing to do anything about it.
“I’m hopeful that the new service will encourage people to continue to shop online knowing that we can get their goods to them in a cost-effective manner. Some people have been charged as much as £50 or £60 for deliveries, but this gives those people an alternative.
“Customers don’t have to pay these charges any more. They can use Highland Parcels to make sure they get it for a reasonable rate.
“We hope it will encourage more people in the Highlands that shopping online is a possibility.”
The scheme has been backed by Inverness and Nairn MP Drew Hendry, who said it would put more pressure on retailers to do away with unfair charges.
“With Highland Parcels in place, it’s taken away another excuse that we hear from these companies and it’s great to see an initiative like this.
“However, the fact remains that the UK government could be doing more. It could be introducing measures to make this a fairer system and it’s about time more was done.”
Businessman Willie Cameron of Cobbs bakery in Drumnadrochit believes Highland Parcels will hand a boost to the local economy.
“I’ve had the experience myself where I have paid for something online only to be told that the company won’t deliver,” he said.
“For our bakery we need different types of supplies and equipment from all over the world, and we do have difficulty getting it here.
“This idea is innovative and aspirational. It makes it much, much easier and brings us closer to the rest of the country.
“From an economic point of view, it’s going to help enormously. This will greatly enhance the rural economy.”