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Community / Wishart says islanders are being ‘ripped off’ as delivery charges get parliament debate

SHETLAND shoppers and businesses spent an estimated extra £1.27 million on delivery surcharges this year compared to the rest of the UK, according to new figures.

The statistics were released from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre recently ahead of a debate on the subject at Holyrood on Wednesday evening (5 December).

During the debate Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said that “my constituents are rightly fed up of being charged over the odds, simply because of where we live and work”.

The issue of surcharges to Shetland residents was highlighted on Wednesday by Shetland News after one shopper was faced with a potential £25 delivery fee for a £14 jar of coconut oil.

The article’s post on Facebook, however, revealed more harsh delivery surcharges faced by Shetlanders.

One striking example was a £1,000 delivery fee being quoted by DPD on the ManoMano website for a £36 wooden bedside table.

Speaking after Wednesday’s Scottish Parliament debate, Wishart said: “It is staggering that islanders are being charged £1.27m more than the rest of the UK in delivery charges.

“That figure goes above and beyond any legitimate extra transport costs to the isles. Islanders are being ripped off.

“The cost of living in Shetland is up to 60 per cent higher than the rest of the UK, delivery charges are a large part of that. We need real action from both governments to clamp down on geographic discrimination.

“I would encourage everyone to shop locally where possible but that isn’t always feasible. Anyone who has faced excessive delivery costs should get in touch with their elected representatives who would be happy to take up their case.”

A new service, meanwhile, has been launched in partnership with the Scottish Government and Trading Standards which aims to track unfair delivery charges in rural areas.

It asks consumers to fill out an online form and relevant information will be passed on to the appropriate authorities for investigation.

Lorna Yelland, team leader with consumeradvice.scot, said: “The new online tool will collect vital intelligence relating to unfair delivery charges, and by answering a few simple questions consumers can help us turn the tide against this unfair practice.”