COMMONS

Online delivery charges investigated

31 January 2018

The Scottish Affairs Committee holds a one off session to examine how prevalent high delivery charges are in Scotland and which areas are most affected.

Higher fees and refusal of service

It is estimated that at least a million people in Scotland are subject to higher fees, longer delivery times or even refusal of service. The issue is most severe in island communities and the Highlands where charges can be as high as £18.60 per delivery and delivery times 3 days later than other parts of the UK. Many online businesses use private delivery firms who are not subject to the same service obligations as Royal Mail.

In this meeting, the Committee will hear from major online retailers, delivery companies and organisations that have looked into delivery charges,  including Ofcom and Citizens Advice Scotland. The session will examine how prevalent high delivery charges are in Scotland and which areas are most affected. It will investigate what information is available to consumers about charges and if additional costs reflect the real economic cost of delivering goods. Finally, it will look at what options exist for reducing or eliminating charges.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee Pete Wishart MP commented:

"High charges and lengthy delivery times are yet another thing that makes it just that little bit harder for people and businesses outside the major population centres in Scotland. If you are paying £15 more to get something delivered and having to wait three more days to receive it then it makes a real difference to whether your business is competitive or not.

We have launched this inquiry to understand how there can be such a disparity in service between different areas of the UK. Do extra charges reflect the true cost of delivery? Have companies looked at solutions to alleviate or remove them? We want to hear about the impact that charges have on the people of Scotland. If this is something that affects you please tell us about it at our online forum."

Further information

Image: Royal Mail Group

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