Launch of Internet delivery charges survey
11th November 2011
In order to understand the extent of the problem of Internet delivery charges, The Highland Council's Trading Standards team are looking to gather evidence from Highland consumers and small businesses about any malpractice they have experienced and to trace and tackle those businesses that fall foul of internet trading law.
They are launching a web survey from The Highland Council's web site: www.highland.gov.uk/deliverycharges to gauge the experiences of Highland consumers and small businesses about what often seems like excessive delivery charging for goods bought online.
The Council says that controlling what businesses charge for delivery is not something that is currently feasible, but the accuracy of any statements made about charges, the clarity of those charges and at what point during the online purchase process the charges are made clear, are all subject to legal controls.
Other forms of distance selling, although subject to the same regulations are not considered to present the same problems, but anyone who has had a bad experience involving delivery charges when buying goods by mail or telephone can also contact Trading Standards direct.
Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee said: "The Highland Council has a duty to ensure that laws protecting on-line buyers are not flouted. If companies in other parts of the United Kingdom want to sell their products to Highland residents then they must go about their business in an open and honest manner. Our Trading Standards Officers will take action against those who don't. This project is the latest stage in our ongoing efforts to protect internet buyers in Highland and I would urge people to take part in the survey."
Delivery costs to the remoter areas of the United Kingdom can be more expensive and it is not illegal for businesses to ask buyers to pay reasonable additional delivery surcharges based on where they live. However, businesses cannot, for example, make claims such as 'Free UK Delivery' when in truth hidden surcharges apply to the Highlands. All applicable delivery charges must be displayed clearly.
Gordon Robb, The Highland Council's Trading Standards Manager, said: "We want online retailers to make their delivery charges open and transparent so that customers don't end up wasting their time going through what can seem like a fairly laborious online process or actually making online purchases that they wouldn't have pursued if they had known the true charges upfront. It is against the law to hide or postpone beyond a certain point in an internet transaction the fact that additional charges apply. Put simply, retailers need to make it clear what delivery charges apply well before a consumer gets to the checkout."
The web survey has been created so consumers across the Highlands can quickly and easily let Trading Standards know of any online business that appears not to be dealing with their customers fairly on this issue of delivery charges.
Mr Robb added: "We want consumers and businesses that have experienced unfair or misleading delivery charges online to contact us and give our officers the details so that we can investigate and take action against the offending sites. A page that can easily be found on the Highland Council website has been set up that is dedicated to this project. The webpage contains background information and a simple on-line form for us to collect details of bad practice. We are committed to improving the way Highland residents are treated online. The webpage is up and running right now and can be completed very easily."
Comlete the survey here -
The Highland Council has launched a consultation paper with detailed proposals for saving over £15 million towards a total budget cut of £64 million over the next five years. The Council has already achieved over £77.7m of cuts, including some through efficiency savings over the past 5 years.
Highland and Islands Councils have signed a multi-million pound contract on behalf of the Pathfinder North Partnership, led by The Highland Council, for the provision of Network Services starting in March 2016. The deal is part of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) Framework agreement awarded to CAPITA in February 2014 and has a potential value of around £33m (over 7 years) across the five Partners for whom it is expected to generate significant cost savings.
Housing projects helping to support local construction sector and wider economy. Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced a deal to deliver new affordable homes for rent in Inverness, providing a boost to the local construction sector and wider economy.
The Highlands and Islands Convention was welcomed to the Merkinch Community Centre in Inverness today (Monday) by Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of the Highland Council, who stressed the importance of ensuring a highly skilled workforce that would contribute to the continuing economic growth of the Highlands and Islands. He also highlighted the need for partners to be working together to deliver good quality services to local communities and to sustain and enable those communities in the Highlands and Islands to flourish.
The Highland Council's Trading Standards Officers are backing local Citizens Advice Bureaux in their campaign to ensure that Highland consumers get a fair deal over private car parking. Both agencies have seen an increase in consumer complaints about private parking in recent times, with a range of problems being encountered by motorists, as David MacKenzie, Team Leader at Highland Council Trading Standards explained: "Sometimes the problem is poor signage resulting in drivers being unaware of large penalty charges and the scale of such charges can also be controversial.
The Caithness District Partnership next meets in Wick on Friday 31 October 2014 and the agenda will feature an update on the progress made in the implementation of a Family Team for Caithness. The meeting will also feature updates from Bob Silverwood, the NHS Area for Caithness and Sutherland the Manager.of Scottish Ambulance Service will also deliver a presentation on Public Access Defibrillators.
The Leadership of Highland Council has turned up the heat on OFGEM and called for action against unfair surcharges which make electricity costs higher for consumers in the Highlands and Islands. The Highland Council Administration is responding in support of action being taken by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and will be writing to OFGEM to call for fairer energy charges in the Highlands and Islands.
If either of the statements, ‘I wish I'd been told about that before I bought my car’ or ‘the car salesman failed to tell me about this...’ sounds familiar - then read on. The Highland Council’s Trading Standards team is today launching an online Used Car Buying Survey in conjunction with Trading Standards authorities across the North of Scotland.
Council renews call for permanent reinstatement of ETVs. Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry has renewed The Highland Council's call to permanently retain and reinstate previous levels of emergency towing vehicles (ETVs) covering the Minch and Northern Isles.
Members of The Highland Council's Licensing Board were (October 7, 2014) informed that 811 Personal Licence holders have still to notify the Board that they have completed their refresher training. Personal Licence holders had until the 31 August to sit their training.
[Printer Friendly Version]