CONSUMER groups have called for united action after it emerged more than one million Scots are being "routinely ripped off" by paying surcharges for parcel post yet having to wait longer for deliveries.
The research, published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), showed islanders were typically paying £19 more for postage while they could wait up to 35 extra days for a delivery.
At least 75% of delivery surcharges made by retailers examined applied to consumers north of the Border. That rose to 82% on Scottish islands.
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The study also revealed that up to 16% of retailers refuse to deliver to certain areas of Scotland.
Some 55% of 534 companies looked at could not deliver to any Scottish island – which meant 100,000 people living in these places were left with less choice in where and how they shop, CAS said. Around 14% of companies refused to deliver to the whole of the Highlands and Islands.
Annie McGovern, policy manager at watchdog Consumer Focus Scotland, said: "Citizens Advice Scotland's report provides yet more evidence of the delivery disparities that exists for consumers living in rural areas of Scotland.
"We recently held a major summit with retailers and delivery operators in the Highlands on creating 21st century delivery services. We are encouraged that a number of big organisations took a seat at the summit and have given a commitment to working with us CAS, the Office of Fair Trading, Highland Council Trading Standards and the Scottish Government to make services better."