Kate Forbes MSP yesterday (Thursday 12 April) welcomed an advertising watchdog's decision to clamp down on misleading claims around parcel deliveries to remote and rural areas.
Highland consumers are often subject to additional charges to have goods delivered, however some online retailers do not make these surcharges clear and upfront in their advertising.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which is part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulatory system, has now issued an "enforcement notice on advertised delivery restrictions and surcharges" – which is applicable to all advertisers across the UK with immediate effect.
According to research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), those living in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency – which also includes Dingwall, the Black Isle and the Great Glen – pay an estimated £3.8m more in delivery charges each year – and the figure for the entire Highlands and Islands is a whopping £33.4m.
Kate Forbes MSP said: "After years of frustration and anger in the Highlands and Islands at the higher delivery charges consumers pay, it's great to see some tangible action.
"Richard Lochhead MSP has run an excellent campaign putting pressure on the UK Government, because it is a reserved issue, and individual companies to stop charging rural consumers more or refusing to deliver at all.
"This is particularly difficult to stomach when businesses advertise free or cheap delivery.
"This intervention is very welcome and I hope it goes some way to change unfair business practices that disadvantage businesses and consumers in the Highlands and Islands.
"It is so much harder to turn a profit when higher costs put Highland businesses at a disadvantage."