An online parcel delivery pricing map has been launched to help residents of rural communities in Scotland identify unfair delivery charges and find the best deals.
The free Parcel Delivery Map and Interactive Data Hub, at www.fairdeliveries.scot, is part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing action to make delivery charges more transparent. It allows individuals and businesses to benchmark delivery prices paid against Scotland-wide averages, track pricing discrepancies across postcodes, and to find additional research and resources to explore unfair delivery pricing.
Based on a report to the Government by Alma Economics, it draws on 24,364 pricing quotes from six major delivery companies and 6,771 pricing quotes from seven national online retailers across all 1,029 postcode sectors in Scotland, across a range of parcel and product sizes. Figures will be updated monthly.
After the user enters a postcode, the website compares charges for a range of parcel sizes from six major companies. Users from around Scotland can also find which online UK retailers deliver to their area.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn commented: “This website shines a spotlight on delivery charges, making it easier for everyone – particularly those in our rural, island and remote communities – to find the best deal and encourage companies to review their pricing.
“Our research for this new resource uncovered shocking stories of unfair charges, from a resident of Mull facing a £230 delivery charge for a television, to someone in Moray asked to pay an additional £50 for the delivery of a mobility scooter, despite the website advertising free delivery across the UK.
“We found that people living in the Highlands & Islands face 21% higher postal charges on average compared to south western Scotland. If you live in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland or Orkney, you’ll face average surcharges of at least 25% compared to Glasgow and have virtually no access to home delivery.”
He added: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in online shopping, with the delivery sector providing a lifeline. Now, more than ever, it is vital that delivery charges are fair and transparent and people have access to the information they need to make informed choices.”
The service has been welcomed by Citizens Advice Scotland. Chief executive (CAS) Derek Mitchell said: “The research carried out by the Citizens Advice network over the last decade has shown that many people who live in remote and rural areas of Scotland feel that they are dealing with unfair delivery practices.
“Higher prices and a lack of transparency on pricing policies are all too common. CAS welcomes the website and publications launched today by Scottish Government and hopes that they are useful for consumers. Rural communities deserve a fair deal and CAS will continue to work with the Scottish Government to fight for their interests and to seek practical solutions.”