Citizens Advice Scotland were on Radio 4 You and Yours today, talking about unreasonable surcharges to the far flung corners of Scotland. eBay, Amazon Marketplace and Tesco were singled out as the worst offenders.
However it’s fair to say that the program did come to the right conclusion, it’s not the marketplaces fault (eBay and Amazon were in fact praised for the work they’ve put in to delivery advice and guidelines). It’s also not the individual retailers fault, according to Citizens Advice Scotland, often the retailer is just as bemused as the consumer as to why it costs so much to deliver to the Highlands an Islands.
Who’s to blame?
The blame lies with the courier companies, retailers are simply passing on the surcharges that they impose for delivery to certain parts of the UK. Good advice given is that Royal Mail have a set price to all corners of the country for light weight items and that’s something that inhabitants of offshore Islands love.
The big question of course is should I who live in Berkshire effectively subsidise deliveries for someone who’s chosen to enjoy their retirement on beautifully quite off shore Island? The simple fact is that it does cost more to deliver when a boat journey is involved.
Royal Mail offer a flat delivery charge across the country
It’s also not fair of Citizens Advice Scotland to say Royal Mail offer a single price for up to 20kg to anywhere in the UK. Whilst that’s an indisputable fact, what wasn’t stated is that not only are Royal Mail very expensive compared to other carriers contract rates above a certain weight, and also that Royal Mail’s own courier, ParcelForce, surcharges for deliveries to the Highlands and Islands!
If retailers used Royal Mail exclusively that would necessitate price hikes for deliveries to everyone in the country. Even with the low cost, soon to be defunct, Standard Parcels, something like a pair of boots could easily cost £12.30 to post.
Is it fair to surcharge?
According to 3,000 angry Scots who responded to the survey on rural delivery charges the answer is “No”. Citizens Advice Scotland want to put convince retailers to change their ways and stop surcharging, and intend to put pressure on government and regulators to take action.
I have a parcel to send tomorrow, not to Scotland but to the Isle of Wight. City Link are charging 50% more to deliver to the Isle of Wight than for the two parcels I sent to London and Derby yesterday. I grimaced, grumbled under my breath and just accepted the price. I didn’t like it though.
What’s your opinion? Do you surcharge for deliveries to parts of the UK?