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Community / Shopper questions ‘ridiculous’ £25 delivery charge for coconut oil

A LOCAL shopper says it is “ridiculous” that she was asked to pay nearly £25 for a jar of coconut oil to be delivered to Shetland.

Sharon Moncrieff, from Dunrossness, was quoted the price after she tried to buy the £14 one litre glass jar from the online shop of Hertfordshire based company Lucy Bee.

The delivery charge was nearly £25 – but the item was only £14. The company said the problem lies with surcharges imposed by courier UPS.

“I know you can get coconut oil here but that particular brand was recommended and you can only get it online – well, you can’t buy it in Shetland anyway,” she said.

“First I thought it must be a mistake so I double checked. But no, no mistake.

“I was definitely going to buy some until I saw the shipping. I tweeted the company to ask how they justify £25 shipping for a jar of coconut oil.”

After she raised the issue with Lucy Bee on Twitter, the company said the £24.80 postage was the price quoted by its courier.

Lucy Bee said that the courier adds a surcharge to postcodes like Shetland.

The company’s website says that its uses UPS as courier and sends its items by tracked delivery.

Moncrieff suggested that the company should use Royal Mail instead.

But Lucy Bee told Moncrieff that for it to use Royal Mail’s tracked service it would have to send a certain volume of parcels for which it doesn’t qualify.

A spokesperson for UPS said: “UPS provides services to all postcodes within the UK. However, certain postcode areas are classified as ‘extended areas’ due to being in a remote or low density location.

“A surcharge is applied to shipments that are collected or delivered in an extended area.”

A representative for Lucy Bee said: “We fully appreciate that the delivery fees to Shetland are expensive and, as mentioned on Twitter, this is the fee that the courier charges us.

“In fact, we’ve previously raised this point with the courier to see if they can reduce the cost in some way and are awaiting their comment.

“We do not and would not add anything extra to this delivery fee, including the cost of packaging materials for which we make no charge. We always use a tracked delivery service so that we and the customer can trace their order.

“We’re a small, family business and value our customers and potential customers, taking their views seriously, and we always aim to be as accommodating as we can.”

It comes as the Scottish Parliament prepares to debate unfair delivery charges this evening (4 December).

The blurb for the debate says that the Scottish Parliament Information Centre estimates that “discriminatory parcel delivery surcharges” results in an additional cost of over £40 million annually compared with elsewhere in the UK.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said that the problem of delivery charges remains an issue for the Northern Isles.

“The Scottish Government has acknowledged the problem and committed to take action, which is welcome news for rural and island communities,” he said.

“However, we now need detail and a clear timescale for that action.”