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31st July 2014

All wrapped up – NI Consumers to benefit from clearer information on the cost of parcel deliveries

The Consumer Council has welcomed new UK wide guidelines which should see NI shoppers benefit from clearer, up front information on parcel delivery charges. This means they will no longer have to wait until the end of the purchasing process to find out if they will be hit with high charges or be left facing the prospect of no delivery at all.

The Statement of Principles for parcel deliveries launched by the UK Consumer Minister today and supported by the Consumer Council in Northern Ireland, is intended to provide a fairer deal for NI online shoppers. They set out best practice for businesses on how they can make sure delivery charges which are often higher for NI consumers, are clearer and more transparent.

Speaking about the new principles Consumer Council Interim CEO Aodhan O’Donnell said; “The fact that over half of NI consumers (56%) shop online, and that over two thirds of people have experienced delivery problems when doing so, means that issues around delivery have become a growing area of concern.

“We know that 39% of NI shoppers have abandoned a purchase or cancelled due to the delivery charge added on at the end. Delivery should not discriminate against customers on the basis of their location and these principles urge retailers to avoid charging disproportionate costs for delivery.

Aodhan continues; “Many consumers in Northern Ireland are left short-changed and can often be faced with companies refusing to deliver or imposing high surcharges. For consumers there is often a lack of information until after an order is placed.

“The Consumer Council therefore strongly welcomes the Statement of Principles on supporting fair delivery practices across the UK and will be working in partnership with business organisations here to support the implementation of these guidelines, which will improve the online delivery experience for all consumers,” said Aodhan.

Launching the ‘Statement of principles for parcel deliveries’, UK Government Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said; “Too many shoppers, across the UK have faced ridiculous delivery charges when buying online. Delivery charges should be clear upfront, so people can decide to shop elsewhere if they feel the charges are excessive.

“Retailers need to get this right for shoppers across the whole of the UK and especially consider how they can best serve their customers in rural and island communities. Better transparency on charges will help businesses keep loyal customers and boost their reputation.”

The ‘Statement of principles for parcel deliveries’ can be accessed via the Consumer Council’s website at