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18 May 2020

DIY shopping during lockdown: online problems and new DIY store opening times

The latest opening times for B&Q, Homebase, Wickes and more, plus how to stay safe when shopping in store

Some 55% of Which? members have bought or tried to buy DIY items since lockdown began, according to a recent Which? survey. But using click and collect, and home delivery has been fraught with problems for some.

With physical stores mostly closed for the first few weeks of lockdown, the vast majority of customers opted for home delivery or click and collect for DIY materials. Where click and collect was available, it was more popular than home delivery at several DIY retailers.

But 44% who used click and collect encountered one or more problems, while 35% who opted for home delivery reported a problem.

Products being out of stock and longer waits than usual for products to be collected or delivered were the top bugbears.

Keep reading to find out which stores are now open if you'd rather avoid the problems of online delivery, plus our advice on shopping safely.

Keen to get on with some DIY? Check out the jobs you shouldn't attempt yourself (and those you can).

Home delivery problems for DIY products

Home delivery of DIY products is the most practical option for many who aren't keen to go in store. More people in our survey had opted for home delivery of DIY items than click and collect.

Fewer shoppers had problems with home delivery, compared with click and collect, but we still heard from more than a hundred people who had experienced problems.

Top problems with DIY home delivery

The most common problem was the order taking longer than usual to be delivered.

Customers of Amazon and eBay experienced this, with 21% of responses to our survey mentioning this problem with home delivery of DIY items.

In early May, Homebase stopped taking online orders. It said this was temporary and 'to help [it] catch up with [its] outstanding deliveries'. In late April, the Wickes website advised customers that home delivery lead times were 'up to two weeks'.

The product being out of stock was the next most-common problem for shoppers looking for home delivery in our survey, accounting for 15% of problems.

Home deliveries being delayed and products being more expensive than usual also both accounted for 7% of problems with home delivery.

Some 65% of customers said they didn't have a problem with home delivery for DIY materials.

If you've had a delivery problem, head to our guide to your consumer rights around online deliveries.

Problems with click and collect of DIY products

Products being out of stock at the local store was the most commonly reported problem for click and collect customers. This accounted for 28% of the problems reported with click and collect for DIY items in our survey.

Top problems with DIY click and collect services

Some 58% of the problems experienced by shoppers using B&Q's click and collect were products being out of stock.

Having to wait to access the website was the second most-common problem.

Both B&Q and Wickes operated queuing systems to access their websites at the peak of demand while stores were closed. Shoppers in our survey reported waits of up to two hours to access both retailers' websites.

The third most-reported issue with click and collect overall was that it took longer than usual before customers could collect their product from the store.

B&Q is currently warning customers that 'extremely high demand' means that its click and collect service 'may take several days'.

Got your DIY supplier sorted? See seven projects you can do in a weekend.

Which DIY stores are open?

Most big-brand DIY retailers have now reopened their doors to customers and most are still offering online services. All have social-distancing measures in place to protect customers and staff. See the latest store-opening times and conditions.

For information on your shopping rights during lockdown, see our guide to coronavirus: shopping, deliveries and consumer rights.

Some DIY stores have also reopened their kitchen planning services, often by virtual appointment. Use our guide to the best fitted kitchen brands to help you decide where to buy.

Alternative DIY shopping options

We've heard from some DIY enthusiasts turning to local shops rather than relying on the big brands during lockdown.

Some have used local builder's merchants to get supplies, while others have found local independent retailers stocking DIY essentials.

Stay safe when shopping in DIY stores

Reopened DIY stores have a range of measures in place to keep customers and staff safe. These include:

  • Limiting the number of customers inside the store at once
  • Providing hand sanitiser
  • Marking out two-metre social distancing guidelines in store

The government now advises that everyone wears face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Use our guide to buying and making face masks to help you stay safe when shopping.

Which? research about buying DIY products online

Data is from an online survey of 1,251 members of the Which? Connect panel in May 2020.