Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Chairman of Sustainable Development, Cllr Donald Crichton, has written to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and labour Markets, regarding delivery surcharges to the Outer Hebrides.
In his letter, Cllr Crichton stated:
“As you will be aware on-line shopping is of particular importance to individuals and communities across the Outer Hebrides. With the Covid-19 pandemic reliance on on-line shopping has grown exponentially across the UK and this is equally true for the Outer Hebrides.
“Consumers and small businesses have reaped many benefits from the increase in on-line sales but the issue of unfair delivery surcharges or no delivery option for the islands has been an on-going problem. Claims like “free delivery” or “standard UK delivery” prove to be illusory for many on-line shopping experiences, leaving island customers aggrieved and frustrated, with a real sense of discrimination.
“Many customers in the Outer Hebrides have a story to tell about unfair delivery charges. These charges may only be £10 or £20 each time but repeated surcharges of this type very quickly add up to create significant detriment to island consumers and small businesses.
“I appreciate that individuals have some level of potential redress through the processes at Delivery Law UK (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)and consumeradvice.scot (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). It would appear unfair, however, that it is the individual consumer that must proactively seek redress rather than the system being organised in such a way as to prevent discriminatory or unfair approaches arising.
“I would appreciate your thoughts on these issues and whether there are any plans being considered by the UK Government to help regularise the situation to prevent on-going unfair delivery surcharges to the Outer Hebrides and other island communities across the UK.”