Results of survey

Results of survey

28th October 2020

Results of Survey by Caithness CAB on fair delivery charges


Thank you to every one who completed our survey on fair delivery charges. The survey covered the Caithness CAB area of Caithness and North Sutherland.


90% of replies were about household deliveries, with 5% business deliveries and 5% home business deliveries

Only 2% said they were not affected by surcharging. The rest were affected either regularly or a few times a year.

85% said that the postcode gave an inaccurate idea of were they lived (ie KW covers Caithness and North Sutherland and is the postcode for Kirkwall which is on Orkney and off the mainland.)

58% agreed that living in a rural affected surcharging and 49%  agreed that parcel companies/retailers charged unfair prices.

41% thought the extra cost charged was because parcel delivery companies outsource deliveries to a third party.


Many agreed that awkwardly shaped and heavy items and the cost of delivering to remote areas contribute to postal surcharging.


It was pointed out that some companies provide free postage by Royal Mail and charge extra to remote postcodes, despite Royal Mail not adding surcharges for remoteness.


83% of those who completed the survey had to abandon purchases because of surcharging. 76% had to shop around online because of surcharging and non-delivery.  70% have gone without items due to surcharging/non-delivery.

63% have paid more for deliveries because of surcharging.  Others have brought things locally. One customer got items posted to family in the central belt to avoid150% increase in postage. Businesses have been and are affected.


When asked to describe their experiences of postal surcharging and/or non- delivery most people felt victimized and upset. They identified that some companies such as B&Q and Wickes do not deliver to Caithness and the far north and those that did charged a lot extra. Some companies say they will deliver and when the postcode is put in they say they not deliver or charge a lot extra to do so.


When asked about what solutions to surcharging would work, 40% of replies agreed with customers in other parts of the country paying more for deliveries so that everyone paid the same, 38% agreed with suggestion that increasing the use of Pick-up Drop-off points may cut the cost.


Other suggestions included:

Caithness should not be identified as an island and that we should have a different postcode to avoid the ambiguity of postage to Orkney.

Use Royal Mail more often – they charge the same for the whole of the UK.