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COVID-19 Coronavirus Information
According to UK government advice dated 23rd March "online retail is still open and encouraged". This advice has been repeated since. We are helping to keep people busy at home with projects in the garden. A screenshot from the gov.uk website is pictured above with the relevant text highlighted in blue. To read the latest UK government guidelines CLICK HERE
We are therefore taking orders online and delivering as normal but subject to a number of important conditions:
- Our Show Centre is closed until further notice. We do not expect to re-open until March 2021 at the earliest. We will not re-open until we can ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
- All staff comply with government guidelines regarding social distancing. Before the shut-down, on March 9th we implemented stringent cleaning routines, social distancing measures and other additional safety precautions for the protection of our staff. These include the installation of anti-bacterial gel dispensers, frequent cleaning of commonly used surfaces, no tool sharing in our warehouses, extra printers in our offices, increased handwashing with antibacterial soap and minimal contact with others including a minimum distance of 2m between people. In addition, all of our warehouse and office staff travel to work alone in their own cars and do not use public transport. We are committed to the safety of our staff. We work efficiently in 4 large warehouses with 5000 square feet of floor space per employee which makes social distancing easy.
- Safe home deliveries. Delivery drivers are keen to keep their distance, which is in everybody's interest. The normal requirement to sign for goods on a hand held terminal is not normally required at present. Instead, the driver will sign on your behalf. In a few cases a signature may be required, for example on a paper delivery note, but this should be completed remotely without breaching social distancing requirements.
What this means for you:
- Next day delivery service: Our next day delivery service is currently operating almost as normal but it is much slower and delays are more likely. Please allow 7-14 days. For parcel deliveries at the present time it is not possible to select a specific delivery day - the day you select is simply the earliest day available and your delivery may be a few days later. If you did not select a delivery day/earliest day please email us with your requirements as soon as possible. If your order is more than one carton they may be delivered separately on separate days. Some carrier depots are closed which is causing prolonged delays in that area. Often the carriers are unable to provide useful information and the online tracking is not working.
- Stock products: Many of our products are in stock. These stock products are normally offered with next day delivery or you can pick a delivery day/earliest day which suits you. Stock products are available as normal but please allow 7-14 days for delivery. Our large warehouses are 75% full but stock control procedures which have always worked well in the past have failed several times recently due to exceptional demand. For example, if other suppliers run out of a product we see a sudden surge in demand and all of our stock is sold out within a few hours. Often we have sold too many. Thankfully these problems are rare.
- Made to order products: Many of our products are individually made to order, most within 6-12 weeks, some longer. Please refer to the Delivery section within each individual product page for accurate up to date delivery information regarding that product. Most of our made to order products are available as normal but delivery is much slower due to unprecedented demand. A few products have been either temporarily or permanently discontinued as factories struggle to keep up with demand. We often receive little or no notice of extra delays or product withdrawals. Often factories cannot obtain vital components. These problems are reducing and the situation is starting to stabilize - but only as some delivery times approach 6 months!
- Accurate delivery info per product: The exact lead time varies from one product to another. Every product page includes a Delivery section with accurate up to date delivery information. We have also added extra Covid-19 delivery information messages in red text with extra information regarding the availability of every product and how it is affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.
- Customer service: We are trying to maintain our normal customer service as much as possible. However, as with all other aspects of our business everything is much slower than normal. We are experiencing a far higher percentage of late deliveries, delays, shortages, cancellations and customer queries than ever before. We hope that this volatile and chaotic situation passes and we will resume our normal service as soon as we can.
- Phone enquiries: Early on during the shutdown we experienced unprecedented call volumes, on such a scale that everybody was answering phone queries all day and nobody had time to do any of the work needed to resolve those queries. We kept reducing the hours for incoming calls but the backlog of unresolved queries continued to increase. We had no choice but to stop receiving any incoming calls. This will continue until we can restore our normal service.
- Email enquiries: We are currently receiving an unprecedented number of emails and we are unable to reply as quickly as normal. We recently employed 4 new members of staff to assist and the number of daily replies is gradually catching up with the number of incoming emails. We are trying to reply to simple queries within 3 working days. Replies to more complex queries may take a few days longer. We hope to resume our normal service soon.
We always comply fully with the law and in this fast moving situation we will react quickly if there is any significant change in our circumstances or government advice. We will update this page quickly if required to reflect any changes.
Please stay safe.