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Published date : 21 June, 2012

The Scottish National Party’s Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perthshire South & Kinross-shire and Mr Pete Wishart MP, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, and Mr John Swinney MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for North Perthshire, have welcomed a report from Citizens Advice Scotland that highlights concerns about unfair delivery practices when consumers buy goods online.

Ms Cunningham said:

“This report from Citizens Advice Scotland backs up complaints I have heard locally and indeed issues I have encountered myself.

“As the case study from Auchterarder highlights, it is absolutely ridiculous to charge extra for delivery to communities that are just a short hop from one of the country’s key arterial routes, the A9.

“Frankly, my constituents are being ripped off with the levying of unnecessary and unfair additional charges.  Huge sums are being levied in surcharges when the Royal Mail will deliver anywhere for the same flat fee.

“Mail order and courier firms really need to get their act together.  If they fail to do so then I want to see legislation that will protect people in Perthshire from this sort of extortion.”

Mr Wishart added:

“One of the most interesting aspects of this report is how it relates to the Royal Mail. One in ten of all comments received included praise for the service provided by the Royal Mail while only 3.4% of comments were complaints about the Royal Mail service.

“It is clear that consumers need protection from the metropolitan bias of the companies involved in levying these ridiculous surcharges and I will be writing to Norman Lamb MP, the minister at Westminster in charge of consumer and postal affairs to express my concerns.

“But what this report also does is raise a real warning flag for the future with any further privatisation of the Royal Mail or erosion of the universal service obligation.”

Commenting on the disparities highlighted by the report, Perthshire North MSP John Swinney concluded:

“This is an issue which I have been made aware of by constituents and I have agreed with them that this practice is completely unacceptable.

“There is no legitimate reason to discriminate between UK postcodes and if suppliers choose to engage a private courier, then  they should aggregate differing costs into their own margins rather than penalising individual consumers on the basis of  where they live in the country.

“Consumers across Scotland, regardless of how remote they may be, remain a domestic postal destination and companies who ignore this fact risk losing business as a result.”

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