Published: 16/08/2012 17:04 - Updated: 20/08/2012 15:26

'Breakthrough' on Highland delivery charges

Promoting the web survey on delivery charges, (left to right) trading standards manager Gordon Robb, former councillor John Laing and trading standards team leader David Mackenzie.
Promoting a web survey on delivery charges, (left to right) trading standards manager Gordon Robb, former councillor John Laing and trading standards team leader David Mackenzie.

Trading standards officers in the Highlands have made a breakthrough in their campaign against unfair delivery charges, according to Highland Council.

They have persuaded more than 20 internet companies to alter their trading practices to comply with the law, which requires them to be upfront about their delivery charges.

"Only this week, they have had confirmation that Dabs.com, a major internet trading company that provides the internet trading platform for BT Store, have moved towards a flat fee delivery charge arrangement and will no longer be applying a surcharge for deliveries to the Highlands and Islands or Northern Ireland," a council spokeswoman said.

"eBay, whose activities now go far beyond simply being an internet auction site to include providing an internet trading platform for numerous small traders, have also agreed to correct a flaw in their systems that miscoded many mainland postcodes as being off-shore islands, which resulted in many people being incorrectly refused delivery by some businesses."

The law requires businesses involved in distance selling and e-commerce to state clearly what delivery charges will apply to any purchase and not to make any misleading statements such as "Free Delivery to Mainland UK" when surcharges are made for deliveries to the Highland mainland.

Trading standards manager Gordon Robb said they had focused on those companies people complained about most often or those big enough to stand out as a priority.

"Among those who have co-operated are some very large players in the market-place," he said. "Great credit goes to a small team of highly motivated staff who have been involved in very detailed and exhaustive negotiations,which have resulted in agreements to voluntarily change the way these businesses handle delivery charges. This success will I have no doubt significantly affect the internet shopping experience of many consumers, both here in Highland and in other more remote communities."

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