Ending unfair fees for rural communities.
Rural communities and businesses would be better protected from unfair delivery charges under measures proposed at a roundtable meeting.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, chaired the meeting with parcel delivery companies, businesses, consumer groups and regulatory bodies to discuss how services and charges can be made fairer, better and more transparent. This follows a parliamentary debate last December, which identified poor practice was widespread across Scotland. Parcel delivery services, particularly in rural and northern Scotland, have long been considered unfair, with surcharges and refusal to deliver to certain locations common and areas of the mainland mistakenly identified as islands.
The roundtable was organised to encourage collaboration between retailers and delivery companies to find sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Topics discussed included:
- holding an annual Fair Delivery Day
- the need to undertake economic analysis to best understand what fair delivery prices are
- scope for technology to support greater collaboration between retailers and delivery companies to reduce costs faced by those in rural and remote areas
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said:
“The Scottish Government and Members of the Scottish Parliament have long called for an end to the unfair delivery charges that many Scottish communities face.
“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to regulate delivery surcharges, and this meeting brought together key partners, including delivery companies and consumer groups, to discuss how we can ensure that the market works in the interests of Scottish consumers and businesses.
“We had an open and focussed discussion on a range of issues and I look forward to working with the industry, and elected Members who have led on this issue, to progress the proposals discussed to support Scottish consumers.”
- The power to regulate parcel delivery surcharging is reserved to the UK Government
- Key discussion points from the meeting included:
- Using the Scottish Government’s new consumer advice and advocacy powers for awareness raising, including holding a Fair Delivery Day, developing a deeper understanding of what constitutes fair delivery prices across remote and rural areas and an annual statement to highlight good and bad practice.
- Fair and transparent costs for consumers and businesses in rural locations, including the role of technology to drive down costs for consumers and businesses and how the rollout of superfast broadband can be used as an economic opportunity to ensure rural small businesses benefit from the growth of eCommerce.
- Greater collaboration between retailers and delivery companies, including the scope for development of community hubs and consolidation of last mile delivery.
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