Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

Breakthrough In Delivery Charge Campaign

15/8/2012

The Highland Council has made a breakthrough in its campaign to win a better deal for local consumers over delivery surcharges levied by internet companies.

Since starting their investigations, Trading Standards officers have persuaded more than 20 internet trading companies to alter their trading practices to comply with the law.

Only this week, Trading Standards 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, Islands or Northern Ireland.

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 charges imposed by internet and other remote traders for delivery to the Highlands has been widely recognised as a cause of significant concern and the surveys carried out by Trading Standards, Citizens Advice Scotland, Consumer Focus Scotland and the Office of Fair Trading has provided detailed evidence of the nature of the issues that are being experienced by consumers and the companies involved.

Using this information, Trading Standards is currently involved in the investigation into a large number of individual businesses and is working to ensure that they will eventually all be brought into compliance with the law. The legislation that applies requires businesses involved in distance selling and e-commerce to be absolutely clear and up-front with what delivery charges will apply to any purchase and not to make any misleading statements e.g. "Free Delivery to Mainland UK" when surcharges are made for deliveries to mainland Highland.

The significant number of other businesses identified from other surveys has resulted in a joint working agreement with Trading Standards in the other North of Scotland councils to share the very significant workload.

Gordon Robb, Trading Standards Manager with The Highland Council, said: "Our focus has been on those companies which featured most often in the survey responses or whose scale made them stand out as a priority to be tackled. Among those who have co-operated are some very large players in the marketplace. 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."

Councillor Graham Phillips, Chairman of the Council's TECS Committee, said: "I applaud the work being done by Trading Standards on this issue and the other work they do and fully support the measured way that they are bringing these businesses into line. It has been clearly identified during their investigations that most of these businesses have not set out to mislead or rip off our consumers, but have instead been unaware of all that the law requires of them. It is also clear that there is still much work to do and although being made fully aware and in good time of what delivery charges will be incurred has got to be good news, removing any surcharges for delivery to our communities remains a valid goal."

On the subject of removing all delivery surcharges, Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of the Council, said: "I have asked that Trading Standards investigate the feasibility of a "Charter Mark" type scheme that would allow consumers to identify those internet traders who do demonstrate that they will not apply surcharges for delivery to the Highlands. This idea was also picked up by the OFT during their recent study into how markets work in remote communities and so I am hopeful that something like this can be developed. I do however recognise that this may take some time to establish and look to the way in which Trading Standards have managed to bring some businesses on-board and agree to publicise their changing attitudes to delivery to the Highlands and other remote communities as being the first step in giving clear public recognition to which businesses are Highland-friendly."

The good news was reported to The Highland Council's TECS Committee today (Thursday 16 August) during the annual Trading Standards Performance Review of 2011/12. In addition to providing a comprehensive review of their overall workload the report has highlighted some of the higher profile areas in which they have been active, including doorstep crime.

The cost to consumers of doorstep crime, including that caused by overcharging for work done, carrying out of unnecessary work, aggressive marketing and failure to provide legal cancellation rights etc. has been estimated from consumer complaint statistics as being in excess of 200,000 per annum. To combat this Trading Standards personnel have reported a number of partnership initiatives to target the problem and are working with one community group to have the first Cold Call Control Zone established in the Highlands before the end of the year.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

[Local Authority]15/7/2014
New £48.5 million school campus for WickThumbnail for article : New £48.5 million school campus for Wick
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today broke the ground on the new £48.5 million Wick Community Campus.   The facility, which will replace Wick High School, Pulteneytown Academy Primary School, and South Primary School, is part of Scotland's Schools for the Future programme and will receive more than £17 million from the Scottish Government.  
[Local Authority]23/7/2014
Good progress with new school provision in WickThumbnail for article : Good progress with new school provision in Wick
The main construction contract for the new £15.4M Noss Primary School in Wick has been signed.  The site, on the existing North Primary School campus, is already cleared and ready for the foundation work to begin.  
[Local Authority]23/7/2014
Trading Standards launch doorstep and distance selling business advice survey
New rules that apply to business activities in an off-premises contract, such online sales, mail order, telephone sales and agreements made in a consumer's home came into force on 13th June 2014.   These new Regulations cover sales of goods and digital content and the supply of services and may affect a large proportion of Highland businesses involved home improvements, gardening and trades like plumbing, electrical, joinery, and painting as well as those Highland based businesses who regularly sell goods and services online by telephone or by mail order.  
[Local Authority]23/7/2014
Council encourages retailers to get ready for Carrier Bag ChargesThumbnail for article : Council encourages retailers to get ready for Carrier Bag Charges
The Highland Council are encouraging retailers throughout the Highlands to get ready for the 20th October when retailers will be required to make a minimum 5p charge for all single use bags.   Scotland currently uses 750 million bags each year and the legislation aims to encourage shoppers to think about reusing bags in order to prevent litter and combat our throwaway culture.  
[Local Authority]18/7/2014
We need a public debate about Policing By Consent in Scotland
From councillor Deirdre Mackay, Highland Council ‘This is Brora not Beverley Hills and it's a classic example of what we are now seeing at family events across Highland.  ‘Since I first raised this issue in June the responses from Police Scotland become ever stranger.  
[Local Authority]8/7/2014
Local rogue builder to appear on BBC How Safe is Your House?
A local Highland builder is to appear in a new BBC rogue trader consumer programme entitled "How Safe is Your House?" Norman Hughes (recently trading as: Caledonian Roofing and Building and Driveline Paving) has been carrying out shoddy paving work at extortionate prices and ignoring warnings from trading standards officers.  To alert consumers, Highland Council trading standards officers seized the opportunity to be featured in a primetime slot for BBC One's How safe is your house? programme.  
[Local Authority]7/7/2014
A9 Safety Improvement Works North of Inverness
Clachmore to Latheron.   Safety improvement works worth around £200,000 have begun on the A9 between Clashmore to Latheron, north of Inverness.  
[Local Authority]4/7/2014
Corporate Communications Manager appointed
Ruth Cleland, currently Strategic Engagement Manager with Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been appointed as Corporate Communications Manager with The Highland Council.   Ruth was, from April 2008 to October 2014, Head of Communications with Northern Constabulary and before that held the roles of Head of Internal Communications with NHS Highland (2005- 2009) and Public Relations and Communications Manager with the Highland Acute Hospitals Trust (1999-2005).  
[Local Authority]3/7/2014
Pledge to improve grass cutting service in HighlandThumbnail for article : Pledge to improve grass cutting service in Highland
The Highland Council and Contractor ISS have put in place measures to improve standards of grass cutting in public open spaces and cemeteries in the Highlands.   The move has come about following recent unprecedented levels of complaints about standards of grass cutting which were received by Elected Members and the Council in the past month.  
[Local Authority]27/6/2014
Council supports new Manager's post to progress Highland Science Academy
Highland Councillors have approved £20,000 funding towards the appointment of a Project Manager to spearhead the establishment of a Highland Science Academy on the new Inverness Campus at Beechwood.   The new post will be responsible for taking forward an action plan to progress the Science Academy project over a 2 year period.  

[Printer Friendly Version]