Online shopping delivery surcharges for Perthshire residents total more than £2.4 million, a situation branded “manifestly unfair”.
The figures come as part of a report by Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) published on Monday.
The report highlights that numerous Scottish Parliament constituencies are impacted by parcel delivery surcharges.
Shoppers in Perthshire North faced an additional cost of £1,378,000 – relative to other areas of the UK – while in Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, shoppers paid £1,026,000.
Meanwhile in Mid Scotland and Fife, the figure is £2,896,000. Other areas of Tayside and Fife were not mentioned in the report.
It estimates the total additional cost of delivery surcharges to Scottish shoppers as being £43.1 million – a rise of £6.7 million over the past three years.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, who represents the Perthshire South and Kinross-shire constituency, said: “It is absolutely ridiculous that people in Perthshire South and Kinross-shire are having to pay over the odds for deliveries – more than a £1 million more than others in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
“At present, it is up to the UK Government to regulate parcel delivery but they refuse to do so, despite all the evidence and the charges continue to sky-rocket.
“Whilst I am frequently encouraging people to shop local, whenever they can, I acknowledge that there are some things that have to be delivered, and there can be no doubt that during the Covid-19 pandemic many have relied on online shopping in one way or another.
“People should not be penalised purely on postcode alone – it is manifestly unfair.”
John Swinney MSP of Perthshire North said the situation is “hugely unfair”, adding: “Over the course of the pandemic, the people of Perthshire will have been forced to turn more frequently to online shopping.
“For them to be penalised based solely on their postcode is not acceptable.
“It is past time that there is UK-wide action taken to ensure that this practice is eradicated.”
In response to the MSPs’ concerns, the UK Government said it is working to protect remote communities.
A spokesperson said: “The Royal Mail provides a universal parcel service at a standard price throughout the United Kingdom thanks to legislation the UK government put in place in 2011.
“All businesses must show clear and upfront delivery charges so customers can shop elsewhere if charges are excessive.”
They added: “We are working closely with consumer groups to assess what more can be done to protect remote communities.”
‘I get parcels delivered to Dunblane and take them to Pitlochry’
Meanwhile, Perthshire businesses have been forced to take measures to ensure they do not pay excess delivery charges.
Ewan McIlwraith owns Robertsons of Pitlochry, which stocks whiskies and gins from across the UK.
He told The Courier he has parcels delivered to his home in Dunblane to avoid paying extra to have them sent to Pitlochry.
“I get parcels delivered to Dunblane and take them with me when I go to Pitlochry”, he said.
“It makes sense to do it that way instead of paying the extra charges.”
He added: “I would think that places should look where businesses are and realise some are not that remote.
“If you are in Perth, it is not that far to come to other areas of Perthshire.”
Ewan also believes excess delivery fees will also put shoppers off buying online.
He said: “The charges would put people off as they would not pay that.
“They are used to having delivery for free because of things like Amazon Prime.”