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Fury about ‘rip-off’ delivery charges

PEOPLE in Shetland are furious about being charged ‘rip-off’ delivery prices when they buy things online – according to new research from the Citizens Advice Bureau, published on Monday.

The CAB service has surveyed people across rural Scotland over the last few weeks, and found that many companies refuse to deliver to ‘remote’ addresses altogether, or at best charge huge fees for doing so. 

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The survey attracted responses from nearly 900 people across northern Scotland – many of them from Shetland.

Eighty four per cent of respondents had been refused delivery outright, and 85 per cent said they had warned friends and family against using certain companies because of their excessive charges. 
 
The survey found that many companies:

  • state that they offer ‘FREE DELIVERY’ but then charge substantial fees for people in rural areas;

  • refuse to deliver at all to certain areas;

  • use expensive couriers for all their deliveries – even though Royal Mail delivers to all UK postcodes for the same low price; and

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  • apply a single delivery fee to all addresses in a postcode area – despite the fact that some postcodes contain wide variations in the actual cost of delivery (e.g. The KW postcode includes much of Caithness as well as Orkney).

Shetland’s Citizens Advice Bureau manager Les Irving said people were angry with being discriminated against.

“Overall what our survey has shown is that people here and across rural Scotland are fed up with being treated like this, and want something done about it.

“We will be reporting this evidence to the Office of Fair Trading, and to Trading Standards, as well as to both the UK and Scottish governments.

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“Citizens Advice Scotland are also writing to the companies named by respondents, to ask them to change their policies in the light of this evidence. We will be naming the companies and publishing more detail of that in the New Year.”

He added that the survey had proved so popular that CAB had now decided to continue it online to allow more people give evidence.

Urging local people to respond to it now, Mr Irving said: “We closed the survey a few weeks ago, but since then we’ve had lots of people contacting us to say they’d missed the deadline but really wanted to tell us their story.

“Anyone who wants to report their experience or express their opinion can do so at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FreeDelivery until the survey finally closes at midnight on 19 January 2012.

“What we are aiming to do here is to persuade these companies to change their policies. We hope that many of them will be open to persuasion. After all, our survey shows that they are currently losing potential trade, which is cutting into their profit margins.

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