Measures to make postal delivery charges more transparent.
Consumers will be able to see whether they are paying over the odds for parcel delivery, and avoid traders profiting through unfair means, following a new action plan.
While the power to regulate parcel delivery surcharging is reserved to the UK Government, 'Fairer Deliveries For All' contains measures designed to make the market more transparent.
Launched on Scotland's first ever Fair Delivery Day, and coinciding with Cyber Monday, the plan has eight actions to help rural communities and businesses understand their rights when it comes to parcel delivery. These include:
- A crowdsourcing website where customer experiences of unfair deliveries can be shared.
- Developing a fair delivery charges map where consumers will be able to compare and track delivery costs.
- Improving the accuracy of postcode classification tools by the end of 2019, to stop accessible locations being mistakenly categorised as rural or remote.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said:
"Unfair delivery practices are not only frustrating and discriminatory for consumers, they are a barrier to small businesses operating in rural and remote areas.
"We have long called for an end to unfair delivery charges. This action plan reinforces our commitment to ensure the delivery market works for people across Scotland irrespective of where they live. It will empower online shoppers to recognise and act upon unfair or misleading delivery costs.
"We will also continue to call on the UK Government to take action as only they have the power to regulate parcel deliveries."
Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland said:
"We are delighted to be supporting Fair Delivery Day. Citizens Advice Bureaux from across our network along with our partners, including Trading Standards have been raising issues around parcel delivery charges for a number of years and they have played a vital role in lobbying for positive change for people affected by unfair surcharging, most often in rural communities.
"In addition, today marks the launch of National Consumer Week which this year focuses on consumer rights when buying in online marketplaces. Far too many people are being ripped off when buying from other online consumers and we want to make sure that people know what to look out for when making a purchase and their rights if something goes wrong."
Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Margaret Davidson said:
"Online shopping is of particular importance to remote and rural areas like the Highlands. Consumers and small businesses have reaped many benefits from the opportunities the internet has brought but the issue of unfair delivery surcharges has been the major bone of contention.
"To get lasting change we need a national approach which is why we are delighted the Minister is with us today to launch this excellent initiative to promote the campaign for fair delivery charges and help bring about the change we need."
- The power to regulate parcel delivery surcharging is reserved to the UK Government.
- The action plan is the direct result of a roundtable event held by the Scottish Government in June 2018 and attended by parcel delivery companies, businesses, consumer groups and regulatory bodies.
- The crowdsourcing website, to be hosted by Revolver, will capture consumer experiences and lead on to the development of the Scottish Parcel Delivery Map.
- This publicly available map will allow the tracking of discrepancies between and within geographic areas. It will help regulators, consumers and retailers to pinpoint and target unjustified pricing.