MP calls for a Fairer Deal for Rural Online Shoppers
Local MP David Mundell has called for greater transparency by online retailers after the findings of a report by Citizens Advice Scotland. The report showed that customers who shopped online from rural and remote parts of Scotland have been refused delivery because of where they live. It also concluded that rural customers are often charged higher delivery costs than their urban neighbours for purchases made online.
After the results of Citizens Advice Scotland's recent survey into the issue were published, Mr Mundell said: "I was shocked and disappointed to discover that so many people are being penalised and hit by these charges, simply because of where they live.
“Online retailing giants make a large enough profit without having to charge customers on an already tight budget extra for shipping costs, just because of their rural location; it's grossly unfair when so many customers sometimes have little alternative but to shop online for that precise reason.
“People are rightly up in arms about it, and I'm glad the issue has been addressed by Citizens Advice Scotland. I would urge all online retailers to review their delivery policy now that this report has been brought to public attention."
• The report Free Delivery* is the result of a survey run by bureaux across rural Scotland and shows that 84% of consumers, from Arran to Aberdeen, have been refused delivery because of where they live.
• The report shows that consumers in rural and remote areas of Scotland are often refused delivery or charged more than people living in urban areas when ordering goods online.
• Citizens Advice Scotland is urging online retailers to:
Ensure that they comply with the law on distance selling;
Reform their delivery policies so that any charges are kept to a minimum;
Offer delivery via Royal Mail wherever possible.
• Due to the high number of responses to the survey, Citizens Advice Scotland has re-opened the survey until 19/01/2012, and would encourage online shoppers to contribute their opinions and experiences. Link to survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/FreeDelivery