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Crackdown on rural charges for 'free' delivery

Online companies will be prevented from charging rural UK shoppers for supposedly “free” delivery services, under a new government crackdown.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulatory system, announced plans to prevent online shops advertising for “free” delivery, and then adding on charges for remote or difficult to access areas of the country.

In February, a Westminster committee found that some shoppers in remote areas were being charged up to 50% more than the rest of the country to have their items delivered. The new rules will come into effect on 31 May, with those continuing to falsely advertise free delivery facing the possibility of a fine from the CAP.

Shahriar Coupal, director of the CAP, said: “Our Enforcement Notice action makes very clear that advertisers must not mislead consumers by promising ‘free’ or ‘UK’ delivery when it turns out that delivery is not free or the item won’t be delivered if you live in certain parts of the UK.”

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA added: “Companies must honour the delivery claims they’re making or stop making them. It’s simply not fair to mislead people about whether parcels can be delivered to them, or how much it will cost.”

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