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A new survey has brought light upon the situation where companies have been charging more to have goods which are purchased online to be delivered to the Highlands than other parts of the UK. The trading standards team on the Highland Council plans to gather examples from residents. Upon investigation by officers it was found out that people in remote areas faced expensive parcel delivery costs. Senior councillor John Laing stated that Internet companies must maintain honesty and openness if they are to do business with customers in the north. Internet parcel delivery costs have been a long running matter of concern. According to Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael some firms have refused to deliver to island residents. He urged the government to deal with the problems and the challenges it poses.
Two years later Mr. Carmichael and other Liberal Democrats accused mail order companies of "excessive and discriminatory" parcel delivery charges. This led to the passing of a parliamentary motion, which contained their criticism in the House of Commons.
Danny Alexander stated that people were being told that it would cost double the regular rate in case delivery was to be made in other areas.
After the launch of the new survey Highland Council trading standards stated that presently, it was impossible to control what businesses were charging for delivery. But the team said accuracy of any statements made about the charges, the clarity of those charges and at what point during the online purchase process the charges were made clear were subject to legal controls. Mr. Laing, chairman of the Highland's Tec services committee felt that it was the Council’s duty to regulate and ensure that laws protecting online buyers are adhered to and not flouted. He further stated that if companies were to sell products to Highland residents they should do so in an open and honest manner
He added: "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."
It is against the law to hide or postpone in an internet transaction the fact that additional charges apply. Furthermore retailers need to make it clear about what charges apply before a consumer proceeds to checkout.