The outbreak of COVID-19 has dramatically changed how we shop and how retailers operate.
High street stores have shut their doors, online deliveries are soaring and everyday products we once took for granted have become nearly impossible to get hold of.
As we all adjust to a new way of life, Which? takes a look at how retailers are adapting to serve their customers, and explains how this might affect your shopping experience and consumer rights over the coming weeks.
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Updated on 15 April 2020 in light of Warehouse and Oasis appointing administrators.
So what does that mean if you've bought something in-store recently and want to return it?
If you're shopping online, it's worth looking to see whether the retailer has extended its returns policy before placing your order.
Which? is calling for all retailers to extend their returns policies during the coronavirus lockdown unless they're able to safely send a courier to collect the item from customers' homes.
Other retailers, including Next, River Island and TK Maxx, are suspending online orders for the time-being.
This comes after concerns were raised around social distancing measures in warehouses.
If you've ordered something from an online store that's now closed, or have a return to make, here's what you need to know:
With many high street stores struggling even before the coronavirus lockdown came into force, it's likely we'll see others fall into administration - in fact the Centre for Retail Research has warned that 20,000 shops will not reopen their doors.
If a store you've buying something from goes bust, here's what you can do to get your money back for a faulty or unwanted item:
|Who's gone into administration?||What does it mean for customers?|
|Laura Ashley||Laura Ashley's online store is still up and running, and the company has said it's working hard to fulfill all orders. .|
|BrightHouse||There will be no new rent-to-own or cash loan lending but customers still need top pay their debts and there will be ongoing support for existing customers. .|
|Carluccio's||It has fallen into administration. The chains 71 UK restaurants remain closed due to government coronavirus restrictions meaning customers will be unable to spend remaining gift voucher balances.|
|Debenhams||Debenhams has filed for a 'light touch' administration, saying it will continue to operate with management in place. It intends to reopen stores once lockdown restrictions have lifted, though some may permanently close. It's still accepting online orders, gift vouchers and returns. .|
|Oasis and Warehouse||The two retailers appointed administrators on 15 April 2020. The stores are still trading online in the short-term.|
As with physical purchases, you're entitled to a free repair or replacement if your digital goods are faulty, of unsatisfactory quality, or not as described.
So, if your ebook isn't working or your game doesn't live up to its description, you can get in touch with the retailer to let them know.
If they can't repair or replace it, you're entitled to a full or partial refund.
You can also change your mind after buying a digital download, but you often have to do so within the 14-day cooling-off period, and you must cancel the purchase before downloading it.
So if you're not sure whether you want to keep the product yet, make sure you let the retailer know not to send you any download codes until the 14-day period is over.
Gone (for now) are the days of signing for parcels; the Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes, Yodel and ParcelForce are now carrying out contactless deliveries.
Most courier services will now log the name of the person accepting the delivery once the parcel has been left in an agreed safe place.
If no safe place has been agreed, most couriers will leave the parcel at the door. They'll then knock and step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve the item.
CollectPlus is also still operating. Shops will have a designated spot where couriers leave the parcels, to avoid any contact.
Your parcels might arrive later than expected over the next few weeks.
The Post Office has said its absence rates are double what they normally are at this time of year. As a result, it can't guarantee deliveries by 1pm the next working day.
Special Delivery parcels may also be delayed. If you ordered a delivery to arrive by 9am the next working day, it will now arrive by 12pm instead.
And if you ordered a delivery to arrive by 1pm the next working day, it will arrive by 9pm instead.
Any post going to care homes will be delivered to a central point, like the reception area, to reduce contact with the elderly as much as possible.
If your delivery is late or doesn't turn up, you still have consumer rights to get your money back.
Retailers have to deliver within the timeframe promised in your contract, and if no timeframe has been agreed, the retailer must deliver it within 30 days of your order.
Public Health England (PHE) has said that, though there's still a lot we don't know about COVID-19, the amount of infectious virus on a contaminated surface is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so after a further 48 hours.
It assured us that all the appropriate infection and prevention control measures are in place with couriers and delivery services to reduce risk to the public.
However, it's best to follow PHE's advice to wash your hands after handling any parcels.
Most of us will indulge in more screen-time over the next few weeks, but off-screen hobbies and activities are on the rise too.
The Historical Sampler Company, which sells cross-stitch patterns and tapestries, has seen a huge increase in sales over the past two weeks.
Co-director Suzanne Bullman said that 'it's gone bonkers - even the more expensive items are selling fast'.
Suzanne puts it down to the mental health benefits of crafts, which can help you engage in something mindful while at home.
Similarly, the Argos website is experiencing high demand for jigsaws and board games, and is currently running low on a number of products. Its breadmakers have been completely sold out in recent days, too.
If you're thinking of trying your hand at a new hobby, make sure you shop around for a good deal, and be aware you may have to wait a little bit longer for your delivery.
All the major supermarkets have introduced measures to try to ensure that everyone can buy everyday basics and essentials.
But it's not just supermarkets that are rationing products.
Apple announced last week that it would limit shoppers to two iPhones per person, as its factories tried to keep up with increased demand.
These restrictions have now been lifted, but there are still some in place for certain MacBook and iPad models.
Boots has also placed restrictions on selected ranges on its website, including:
Products are limited to either two, four or six per customer. Any product containing paracetamol has been limited to one per customer.
Dodgy coronavirus products have been rife on Amazon and eBay in recent weeks, as shoppers turn to online platforms for products sold out in supermarkets.
Amazon says it has removed 'tens of thousands' of products from sale, including fake treatments and cures for COVID-19.
We've also found examples of surge pricing for cleaning products, thermometers and baby formula, as well as listings for used hand sanitisers.
Buy now pay later (BNPL) schemes
Klarna, Clearpay and Laybuy allow you to pay for items after you receive them - normally 30 days later or in a series of instalments.
A whole raft of retailers, from fashion brands to airlines, now offer a BNPL finance option.
You may be tempted to use one over the next few weeks if you have less money coming in, but it's important to understand the risks if you do end up missing repayments.
if you've already used one of the schemes but are struggling to make repayments during the outbreak, it's best to let the scheme know as soon as possible.
Both Klarna and Laybuy have encouraged customers who can't make repayments during this difficult period to get in touch and discuss other options.
If you've used Klarna to pay for a holiday that's now been cancelled, Klarna has advised you to speak with the travel provider directly.
It says it will only be able to refund you once the retailer has agreed to the reimbursement.
If you're yet to pay for your travel or hotel booking, Klarna says it will pause all invoice and payment plans for 30 days while you try to resolve your claim with the travel company.
Many people will have bought or been given vouchers for meals, trips or experiences for Christmas last year - some of which may be expiring soon.
Virgin Experiences has said that so long as government restrictions apply, it'll be offering customers either rolling six-month extensions on its vouchers or the opportunity to exchange to a different one.
It also said it will consider refunds on a case-by-case basis as the situation develops.
Wowcher, too, is planning to extend validity on its travel and experience deals, so customers can use them at a later date when restrictions on movement are lifted.
Customers who wish to cancel completely are currently only being offered credit.
Groupon is extending vouchers, wherever possible, by 12 months, and will notify customers as expiry dates are extended. It's yet to get back to us about refunds, but we'll update this story as we hear more.