Customer Information - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis



6th June 2020

General Update: Almost 3 months since lockdown started - it hardly seems possible! It's been a very busy 3 months on my own, ensuring that every order has left on time. Royal Mail have done an absolutely fantastic job - after a few issues back in April, we've had no further problems and no complaints about delayed deliveries. People right around the world are receiving their Ollipops orders quicker than we thought possible! The volume of mail nationally has hit unprecedented levels and there are many RM employees unable to work for various Coronavirus-related reasons, yet still the mail seems to get through.

We are retaining our extended returns policy for the moment (see bottom of this page), as there's no obvious reason to revert to our normal 30 day limit yet.

We've also recently added loads of lovely items to the website. Highlights are a much-enhanced offering from Australian brand Old Soles and what we think are the best adventure sandals available, from US brand Keen.

For those who like a bargain, we have lots of past season Bobux shoes coming online - more styles are being added daily at the moment. Not only that, but we've just launched a new discount - 10% off all orders over £45 - no code - your discount will be applied automatically at checkout. As ever, discounts and special offers are subject to our standard terms and conditions.

22nd April 2020


ROYAL MAIL update - Wednesday Afternoon: I am more than a little relieved to be able to report that most parcels have now started to move, following my spreadsheet sent to Royal Mail this morning. This applies especially to parcels shipped on 14 April. They have clearly been waiting in their parcel bags for 8 days before being scanned, however, many of them now state that they expect to deliver tomorrow (23 April). One can only imagine how big Royal Mail's parcel mountain must be...


22nd April 2020

ROYAL MAIL UPDATE: I am continuing to monitor all parcels despatched from here. There are a large number of parcels collected by Royal Mail on 14 April, which have still not been scanned in to their system, despite the fact that almost all parcels shipped since that date have been delivered. This morning I have sent a spreadsheet of these to my contact in Royal Mail and await their response, which will be added to this page as soon as I receive it.


21st April 2020

RETURNS POLICY - IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please scroll down to the bottom of this page for current returns policy.

21st April 2020

ROYAL MAIL UPDATE: I am continuing to monitor all parcels and delays are significant in some cases. How long a parcel takes to arrive seems to be down to luck as much as anything else. I have had parcels which left here in the same bag, on the same service, being delivered more than a week apart. Where possible, I continue to communicate with Royal Mail - difficult at the moment because the wait time before they are able to answer is more than 50 minutes. They have had some really major failures at the main mail centres and this has a huge effect on all mail travelling through the system. Realistically, it seems unlikely that the state of our mail system will improve in the immediate future, as RM struggle with unprecedented levels of mail and a severely impacted workforce.

15th April 2020

ROYAL MAIL UPDATE: Mail delays are unavoidable and will continue being so for an indefinite period. In the UK, we use Tracked 48, which now seems to be taking around 1 week to arrive, and Tracked 24, which seems to be taking around 3 days or so. International mail is mostly sent via Royal Mail and their partner in each country. There are few, if any, flights, so everything is being transported by road and sea and is taking much longer than normal.

If you check your tracking number and the Royal Mail website tells you that they are waiting for us to hand over the parcel, you can be 100% certain that this is factually incorrect! Every single parcel is collected by RM on the day we tell you that your order has been shipped. So far, there has not been even one exception to this. Their tracking system is not being updated because the mail is taking so much longer to get anywhere.

Please be patient - there are so many postal workers affected by Coronavirus that our posties throughout the country are under a greater strain that at any time I can remember. They are working very, very hard to keep the mail moving, and it is moving - just not as quickly as it used to move.

14th April 2020

ROYAL MAIL TRACKING UPDATE: As of this morning, it would appear that all delayed parcels have now got through the bottleneck. The issue seems to have impacted orders shipped on 6th, 7th and 8th April - oddly enough, orders shipped on 9th April were mostly delivered on Saturday 11th.

To all those affected, thank you very much for your patience and kind understanding. Royal Mail are continuing to do a fantastic job in extremely difficult circumstances, with mail volumes exceeding Christmas levels, but with many postmen and women unable to work, and it is clear that the potential for delays is at an all-time high.

11th April 2020

ROYAL MAIL TRACKING UPDATE: I have this morning managed to speak to someone at Royal Mail. They tell me that there is a huge backlog at the Jubilee Mail Centre, which is the vast sorting centre near Heathrow which covers pretty much the whole of the South of England as well as all international traffic – "much worse than Christmas” were the words used. According to them, normal staffing levels are depleted by around 25% currently.

It seems that the tracking is not updated to "received by RM” until the item is scanned at Jubilee MC. This would explain why, according to the tracking info on RM website, they have not yet received a parcel. In fact, all parcels have left us on the day we advise tracking info, but until they get through Jubilee MC the tracking on the RM website will not reflect that.

In the light of the current situation and the huge impact it has had on Royal Mail, and whilst I fully appreciate that delays may be annoying and/or concerning, I would ask anybody affected to bear with this ongoing situation. I will be working through all orders and all customers who have paid for the "Express" service will receive a refund of £2, as "express" is clearly not what we have been able to deliver.


9th April 2020

ROYAL MAIL TRACKING: Following a couple of customer tracking requests, I've noticed that RM tracking is not up to date, and often doesn't show any tracking info until the item has been delivered. Whilst this is not ideal, given the impact of the current situation, it is inevitable that delays to some locations may be longer than normal and that service levels may be lower than in normal circumstances. So far, RM have managed to maintain daily collections from Ollipops, so if you receive an email with shipping confirmation and tracking number, you can be entirely confident that your parcel has physically left the building that day, irrespective of the message on RM tracking. Should a collection not take place as expected, you will be notified personally.


30th March 2020

ALL DESTINATIONS: As of last Friday, our local Royal Mail delivery office had 18 people off, either self-isolating or suffering from Coronavirus. We are in a small market town, so this represents a significant proportion of the workforce. They continue to provide an invaluable and amazing service and we want to make things as easy for them as we can. To that end, we now need to have our parcel collections ready by 11am, which means that we have put in place a temporary cut-off time of 10 o'clock for orders to be shipped same-day.

INTERNATIONAL ONLY: Please be aware that delivery times are likely to be much longer than normal to all countries. In some cases, there are no flights and/or no onward delivery services operating. Where this is the case, Royal Mail have had to suspend their services to those countries. Please check HERE before ordering for the latest COVID-19 information from Royal Mail.

27th March 2020

We are continuing to operate a near-normal service at this time. The health and well-being of both ourselves and our customers is of paramount importance and at all times we are following the UK Government advice and rules to the letter. This document is intended to give you information which is likely to be of importance to you right now. We also welcome any questions by email or telephone.

At some point, this nightmare will ease and the nation will have to not only count the cost, but work out how we're all going to pay for it. Small, independent retailers such as Ollipops (and there are thousands of others) are struggling now and many will not survive this catastrophe. The huge, global retailers will be there, of course, but we'd like as many small, family businesses as possible to survive too.

So, if you are going to spend money, we would like to ask you, please, to consider supporting an independent retailer.

What we are doing:

1. SAFE WORKING: We have one person (me) doing everything - the website, picking and packing orders, responding to emails, answering the phone and making the coffee. I work alone, at home, so there is no possibility of virus transmission to or from a colleague.

2. WAREHOUSE: Our warehouse is in a place where there is no other human being. Again, absolutely no contact is possible.

3. HOME OFFICE: At home, we (my 2 grown-up children and myself) have been socially isolated since 16th March.

4. DESPATCHING PARCELS: Royal Mail collects bags of parcels from us daily - we do not even have to go out to despatch. I leave our parcels in an outside area, protected from the elements. I ensure that no-one is outside when the postman arrives, and he/she is therefore able to complete the collection without even seeing me, let alone coming into contact.

5. OFFICIAL ADVICE: Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).

6. DELIVERING PARCELS: We do not use any UK delivery service which requires a signature. All UK parcels are sent on either the Tracked 24 or the Tracked 48 service and will be delivered to your door by the postman. Royal Mail have already put in place strict safety rules to protect both their staff and customers. On our checkout page, please use the 'Special Instructions' box to specify a safe place where your parcel can be left, if you have one. This might be a box in your porch or anywhere else you choose (as long as it's accessible to the postman).

7. RETURNS: During the lockdown period, we simply need you to INFORM US WITHIN 30 DAYS BY EMAIL that you intend to return an item. You should post the item only when it is safe for you to do so. We are not putting a limit in terms of number of days on this because none of us knows when it will be safe. WE GUARANTEE THAT NO RETURN WILL BE REFUSED IF IT HAS BEEN DELAYED BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS SITUATION. Refunds will always be issued within the statutory 14 days. In most cases, refunds will be issued in 3-5 days, but please be patient - as we are not operating out of the office in the current situation it can sometimes take longer for returns to be processed.

8. EXTRA DISCOUNT: if you spend over £40, you will automatically get 10% off, subject to our normal terms and conditions which are available on the website. We know that money may be tight and that it is likely to become more difficult for many of us. Our prices are often the best you'll find anywhere, so we hope this will help.

Thank you for your custom - every customer is truly appreciated. It just remains for me to express the hope that you all stay safe and well, and to those of you whom I know are suffering at this time, I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

Caroline @ Ollipops



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