End the delivery rip-off

by Ken McEwen, Ken McEwen Public Relations

I am hoping that a new bill brought forward by Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire, may tackle the nonsense of hiking delivery charges to “remote” addresses.

delivery charges

This is something that Citizen’s Advice Scotland and others have been battling in recent years. Their Chief Executive Margaret Lynch explains the scale of the problem:

“The Scottish CAB service has been fighting on this issue for the last few years, gather and publishing extensive evidence show how bad the problem is.

“Our research found that 1 million Scots have been ripped-off by high delivery charges, just because of their postcode. Some were being charged up to 500% more than the standard delivery rate.”

I am among those people who have been ripped-off and I don’t even live in some remote corner of Scotland. I live just 12 miles outside Scotland’s third city, the centre for Britain’s biggest industry in investment terms.

One company phoned after my order was accepted online, demanding that I pay £40 extra for the privilege of making the delivery.

Regular culprits appears to be CityLink. They apparently designate any postcode above AB12 as being in the “Highlands” (funny how that just avoids their own depot being designated “Highlands” by the skin of its teeth!).

Geography was one of my particular strengths at school and I know that my neck of the woods has never been part of the Highlands, either geographically or politically. (In fact, we are only about 300m above sea level!)

The nonsense of CityLink’s arbitrary AB12 cut off is shown by the fact that our old Aberdeen office, right in the centre of Aberdeen at Albert Street is designated as the “Highlands”, while Waverley Place, just 100 yards along the same street is the “Lowlands”.

The ultimate irony of all this is that CityLink beat a regular path to our door to deliver goods from Amazon, with no surcharges applied!

I do appreciate that delivery to Scotland may cost more, just as it could to Cornwall, or Cumbria.

But, if there are additional delivery charges they should be:
  • scaled across the country
  • clearly and prominently stated (preferably in a table of costs for the different areas) before you get to the checkout
  • and it should certainly not be first mentioned in an out-of-the-blue phone call after the order has been accepted.

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