The SNP Government has launched an online parcel delivery pricing map to help residents of rural and island communities identify unfair delivery charges and find the best deals, in the situation we currently have whereby postal services are reserved to the UK Government.
After entering a postcode, the website compares charges for a range of parcel sizes from six major companies. Users from around Scotland can also find which online UK retailers deliver locally. The free service can be viewed at: www.fairdeliveries.scot It is part of ongoing action by Scottish Ministers to make delivery charges more transparent.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn MSP said:
“This website shines a spotlight on delivery charges, making it easier for everyone – particularly those in our rural, island and remote communities – to find the best deal and encourage companies to review their pricing.
“Our research for this new resource uncovered shocking stories of unfair charges, from a Mull resident facing a £230 delivery charge for a television to someone in Moray asked to pay an additional £50 for the delivery of a mobility scooter despite the website advertising free delivery across the UK.
“People living in the Highlands and Islands face 21% higher postal charges on average compared to South Western Scotland. If you live in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland or Orkney, you’ll face average surcharges of at least 25% compared to Glasgow and have virtually no access to home delivery.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP, who chaired the Cross-party Group on Postal Services for five years added:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in online shopping, with the delivery sector providing a lifeline. Now, more than ever, it is vital that delivery charges are fair and transparent.
“It is shocking that the UK Tory Government continues to ignore the unfair charges imposed on my Arran and Cumbrae constituents and hundreds of thousands of others across rural and island Scotland, increasing the costs for residents and businesses alike. I am therefore delighted, in the circumstances that people can at least access the information they need to make informed choices.”
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) Derek Mitchell commented:
"The research carried out by the Citizens Advice network over the last decade has shown that many people who live in remote and island areas feel that they are dealing with unfair delivery practices.
“Higher prices and a lack of transparency on pricing policies are all too common. CAS welcomes the website and publications launched by Scottish Ministers and hopes that they are useful for consumers. Rural communities deserve a fair deal and CAS will continue to work with the Scottish Government to fight for their interests and to seek practical solution.”
The Parcel Delivery Map and Interactive Data Hub allows individuals and businesses to benchmark delivery prices paid against Scotland-wide averages, track pricing discrepancies across postcodes and find additional research and resources to explore unfair delivery pricing.
It is based on Alma Economics’ report 'An econometric analysis of postal delivery pricing in Scotland' commissioned by the SNP Government.
The website draws on 24,364 pricing quotes from six major delivery companies and 6,771 pricing quotes from seven national online retailers across all 1,029 postcode sectors in Scotland. Shipping quotes were requested for small, medium and large parcel sizes as well a range of bulky consumer products. Figures will be updated monthly.