Let’s stop retailers blocking or charging extra for Isle of Wight parcel deliveries

Quite a few retailers won’t post items to the Isle of Wight, or charge lots extra. Clearly this is wrong. This Website aims to start a change for UK’s islands.

bubble wrap and string

This new Website – Delivery Law – although initially focused on Scotland – could be highly relevant for the Isle of Wight. Many residents have experienced problems ordering items online and sellers refusing to post to the Isle of Wight without adding a huge surcharge. Ed


The issue of parcel surcharging has long been a bone of contention for many internet shoppers. However, consumers across the United Kingdom, and especially those living in Northern Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland are now set to benefit from the launch of a new Website which provides a one stop shop to acknowledge these concerns, which include:

  • Blanket claims like “free UK delivery” when many consumers are excluded
  • Surcharges being added at the very end of the online buying process, or even after the sale has been completed
  • Very high and disproportionate surcharges
  • Refusals to deliver to remote or rural areas

Set up by Highland Council Trading Standards
Using funding from Trading Standards Scotland, the Highland Council Trading Standards team led on developing the Website which has been set up after an investigation by the UK-wide Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP).

The CPP brings together a wide range of consumer bodies from across the UK and is supported by both the UK and Scottish Governments.

Battle to be treated fairly
David MacKenzie, Trading Standards Manager at the Highland Council explained:

“We receive complaints and enquiries every day about parcel surcharges and our officers’ investigations lead all the time to online sellers agreeing to change their practices. But our work can only go so far and we are delighted that the issue is being tackled across the UK.

“We think that this new Website will make an important contribution to the battle to ensure that Internet shoppers are treated fairly on parcel delivery.”

Your consumer rights
The site’s section for consumers has clear, readable information about consumer rights, with examples of each type of potentially problematical scenario. There are also “self-help” tools for consumers to test whether they have a case and template letters to use to raise cases.

There is a section to enable consumers to report unfair practices to the correct Trading Standards department or to the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as clear signposting to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline where consumers can access more advice.

Business advice too
The site is not just for consumers. There is a section for business with a range of information about how Website operators can comply with the law and treat consumers fairly, plus some tips and template letters for businesses to use when they encounter unfair surcharges in their buying.

The “practitioners” section of the site is aimed at advisers, investigators, solicitors, policy-makers and others who want to look into the legal requirements in more depth.

The CPP project, led by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, found that surcharges were widely applied, often to large urban areas such as Aberdeen, Belfast and Inverness, and not just very remote parts. The new portal forms part of a suite of actions developed by the Consumer Protection Partnership in response to a raft of complaints around unfair surcharging.

Cllr Elena Whitham, Chair of the Trading Standards Scotland Governance Board welcomed the launch of the new site, stating:

“I warmly welcome the launch of the new Website today which provides a one stop shop of information and advice on delivery charges. Unclear and misleading parcel surcharges can heavily impact on a consumer’s transactional decision where they may abandon their purchase due to additional charges being added at the last minute based upon where they live.

“This new site shows the power of partnership working where the Consumer Protection Partnership has identified a significant consumer issue and has pooled resources to develop a solution. However, this site not only benefits consumers, but also practitioners and business, so all parties are clear on their rights and responsibilities. I am delighted that we were able to contribute to this project and I hope that this marks the beginning of a change around unfair charging.”

New Website offers support for consumers
George Lusty, Senior Director of Consumer Protection at the CMA said:

“No-one should be stung by surprise postage costs at the final stage of an online order, with those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland suffering more than most. It is important that businesses are upfront about all charges, comply with consumer law and do not discriminate against people based on their location.

“The CMA has taken a prominent role in the launch of today’s Website, which will better support people by giving them a place to register complaints, and parcel companies by providing them with the key information they need to comply with the law.”

Protecting remote communities from unfair charges
UK Government Business Minister, Andrew Griffiths MP, said:

“We are working with consumer groups to see what more can be done to protect remote communities from unfair charges and have been clear that businesses must be transparent about charges so customers can shop elsewhere if they are excessive.

“This Website should make a valuable contribution to this effort, providing guidance for businesses and helping to protect consumers with clear information about charges.”

Concerted action to protect consumers
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority said:

“I’m delighted to support the launch of this portal, which will make it easier for consumers to find out how and where to complain about parcel deliveries. In addition to supporting this initiative, we recently took enforcement action against online retailers telling them to stop misleading consumers by promising ‘free’ or ‘UK’ delivery if that’s not the case.

“The work of the Consumer Protection Partnership to bring relevant agencies together on one issue shows what can be achieved with co-ordinated and concerted action to protect consumers.”

Ministerial roundtable meeting
Next week a Ministerial roundtable meeting will be held in Edinburgh chaired by Scottish Government Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse. He said:

“We have long been calling for an end to unfair delivery charges for rural and island areas, and welcome any measures to deliver a fairer system for Scottish communities.

“We are working to ensure that the parcel delivery market works in the interests of all Scottish consumers and businesses and that bad practice is eliminated and communities are treated fairly, given the glaring unfairness in examples presented to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament by MSPs and their constituents. That is why I am hosting a roundtable meeting on unfair delivery charges this month with key industry and consumer representatives.

“This meeting will provide an opportunity to build on the work already undertaken, including that of the Consumer Protection Partnership, to achieve a collaborative approach to tackling the unfair charges faced by many Scottish businesses and consumers.”

Image: sionakaren under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 22nd June, 2018 12:00pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2l26

Filed under: Business, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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15 Comments on "Let’s stop retailers blocking or charging extra for Isle of Wight parcel deliveries"

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Tamara

The Isle of Wight is hardly remote! There is no comparison with the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We are a very big island, comparatively densely populated, and only a few miles offshore. So there should be no excuses for adding on hefty delivery charges!

Rockhopper
This happened to me recently. Being aware of the issues, I checked the small print to ensure the Island wasn’t excluded for delivery. The order was accepted, using my postcode for delivery with no problem and I received a confirnation email. The following day, I received another email informing me that the order had been cancelled and I would be refunded within 5-30 DAYS. Damn cheek. I… Read more »
electrickery

All very well, but what are they doing to stop it? Perhaps our otherwise-unproductive MP could assist (that was a joke).

azwills

Could someone tell us- does it cost any more to post an item from, say, York, to the island? And, does it cost more using Dpd, fedex etc?.

sculler

DPD charge more. However I’ve paid extra in the past and the tinkers used royal mail

eddo

So it is not Just Red Funnel and Wight link then, how very strange.

victoriatf

So the conversation went: retailer – it costs more to post to the island – response, no it doesn’t if you use the Royal Mail – them – but they charge us more – no they don’t – yes they do….hang up! If Amazon don’t charge extra, why does anyone else? Greenhouse – about £20 to Soton, £675 to IoW – use Royal Mail?

greenhey
We refurbed our house a few years ago and found the arbitrary delivery limitations very frustrating. Not least because some retailers don’t seem to understand Royal Mail delivers here just like anywhere else. A particular example was some door handles which were £60 with free delivery. Once the IOW postcode went in a £65 charge was added. In the end we had some visitors due from London.… Read more »
Mark L Francis

So what is this website called?

chartman

At the top…. ‘delivery law’

bruno
ventnoruk
my paid for double bed order was cancelled by by Dunelm headquarter’s without notice because’they didn’t ship to Isle of Wight. I had to buy local -Beds r us in Cowes(very good service). After much to’do on my part, explaining how it could be done, and now they ship to IW, HSL chairs in Southampton wanted £75 each item S&H to IW Also many online purchases don’t… Read more »
madamfluff
Had this problem last week on ebay, seller wanted to charge me £10 for posting something that being sent by royal mail, the listing said free delivery but not to the IOW I wanted the item so I got it sent to my sister in London who posted it to me second class £2.95 if I could have got the item from anyone else I would have… Read more »
viletrog
Of course, we were all warned that privatisation of the mail would lead to this kind of CON, but people ignored it, and continue to vote Tory, they want to see the end of subsidy..when will people realise that the Tories are NOT INTERESTED in SERVICES or COMMUNITIES?! They will continue to rip apart the fabric of our nation, in favour of business and continue to make… Read more »
laurentian

I seem to remember someone complaining about this recently, but having second thoughts when as an “offshore island” they got the VAT taken off?

Of course, I may have been dreaming . . .