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Rural e-commerce users suffer from unreasonable delivery costs

16 August 2012 - 11:54 by Simon Crisp

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A new study, published by Consumer Focus Scotland, has identified issues with many delivery services used by online retailers, pointing out that customers who live in the most isolated areas of the UK are being charged much more for delivery, than their more centrally located peers.

The report found that people who live in places like the Highlands of Scotland, will often find that there are additional charges for delivery added when they use safe shopping online, which means they have to pay extra and so are less likely to make significant savings through e-commerce.

Many people across the country use e-commerce services because they offer generally lower prices than bricks and mortar outlets, but if the costs of rural delivery top up the total expense, then customers might be less willing to use online shopping platforms.

A representative for the Office of Fair Trading said that it was already aware of issues related to delivery charges and was in favour of the research and work being carried out by Consumer Focus Scotland, so that people can get a fair deal on safe shopping online, wherever they happen to live.

Another real benefit of e-commerce is that it breaks down borders and boundaries, with people able to shop for products which would not normally be available on their local high street. But of course, if delivery charges are putting the brakes on this, then it is unfortunate.

It seems that the problem in this instance is that some retailers are simply not giving customers the option to actually choose the bog standard Royal Mail delivery and are, instead, having to pay extra fees for a courier service. Campaigners are hoping to alter this, so that e-commerce is as appealing to city dwellers as it is to those in the countryside.