Published: 11/08/2012 18:00 - Updated: 10/08/2012 14:56

Watchdogs show teeth over online delivery charges

Online shoppers in Caithness complain that they are overcharged because of where they live.
Online shoppers in Caithness complain that they are overcharged because of where they live.

CONSUMER watchdogs are calling on online retailers to offer a Royal Mail service on all its sales to save money for customers in the far north of Scotland.

Consumer Focus Scotland is urging all internet retailers and parcel delivery operators to review and revamp its delivery service and offer customers much more flexibility.

To protect consumers in rural areas from being penalised, it is calling on retailers to always offer the choice of Royal Mail’s standard parcel service, which delivers to all parts of Scotland for a uniform tariff.

Citizens Advice Scotland ran a survey last year when it discovered hundreds of people in Caithness who complained that they had been overcharged for purchases due to their location.

Gordon Robb, trading standards manager at The Highland Council said: “We welcome Consumer Focus Scotland’s excellent report which confirms some of our own findings and suspicions about the issue of delivery charges.

“In particular, we would reiterate the importance of businesses complying with distance-selling laws and providing full and early delivery information.

“Our recent survey uncovered a wide range of problems and we are in the process of dealing with the non-compliant businesses.

“A number of these online sellers have now made changes and so the situation is improving but much work remains.”

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