Following her participation in a House of Commons debate on online retail delivery charges, Patricia Gibson MP for North Ayrshire & Arran urged Nick Boles MP, Minister for Skills to do more to protect consumers in island and rural areas from these charges and that as a first step the universal service obligation should be revised to protect rural and island customers.
“Several reports published by Citizens’ Advice Scotland (CAS) reveal that a million customers in rural and island Scotland are still being hit by unfair delivery charges, surcharges or excluded from delivery altogether when they buy goods online.
“The impact on rural businesses as well as consumers is significant. Over the last three years the evidence uncovered by CAS shows that, whilst fewer online retailers impose surcharges for delivery to islands, those who do actually charge more than they did three years ago, indeed, those on islands pay and average of 15.8% more. With online shopping constituting 15% of the retail market in the UK, consumers in rural areas are facing a massive increased cost to participate in this growing market".
During the debate, Nick Boles the Minister for Skills, promised to set up a meeting with Patricia who added:
“I will be pushing for progress on this issue to protect rural and island businesses and consumers.”