Moray SNP News
MSP HOLDS TALKS WITH UK GOVERNMENT MINISTER OVER RIP OFF SURCHARGES
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead yesterday held talks over his delivery charges campaign with the UK Government Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility.
Mr Lochhead has spearheaded the campaign to end unfair delivery surcharges and yesterday pressed the UK Government Minister to take action given the powers over regulation are reserved to Westminster.
Since launching his campaign progress has been made on tackling rip off surcharges. The Advertising Standards Authority have issued enforcement notices to over 200 companies reported to them by the MSP in two separate dossiers, and this week the Scottish Government launched its Fairer Deliveries for All action plan.
In a report commissioned by Mr Lochhead the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) estimated that parcel delivery surcharges cost consumers in Scotland £36.3m a year.
Commenting Richard Lochhead MSP said:
“I had a constructive and valuable meeting with the UK Government and was heartened by the Minister’s understanding of many of the issues faced by families and businesses that face paying often absurd parcel delivery surcharges because of their postcode. Ms Tolhurst acknowledged that this issue has now gained a lot more prominence and requires action.
“Scots consumers pay a £36m delivery surcharge each and every year due to the unacceptable practices of many online retailers and their couriers. We discussed the two key issues facing Scotland and indeed some other parts of the UK, which are the often unjustifiable scale of the surcharges and also the fact that too many retailers mislead consumers by offering free delivery but then apply charges.
“With Christmas fast approaching hundreds of thousands of Scots are going to be fleeced when buying their gifts online and the situation is now urgent. This is despite the significant steps now being taken by the authorities to clamp down on sky high surcharges which is welcome and most recently the Scottish Government’s action plan.
“I explained that the voluntary statement of principles promoted by Scottish and UK Ministers are not being adhered to by far too many online retailers and if we are to encourage an end to discrimination and bring about greater transparency then we need to look again at legislation, as well as naming and shaming those retailers that impose massive surcharges that they often hide. We also need to look at other measures such as ensuring online retailers offer up front the cheapest options for delivery and provide customers with a choice of couriers to use.
“Ms Tolhurst told me that she has an open mind in terms of reviewing the current legislation and I welcome that as only the UK Government can bring that forward to help Scots consumers and businesses.”