A string of well known high street chains have gone into liquidation or administration recently leaving frustrated customers’ noses out of joint and potentially, out of pocket too. The liquidator’s job is to sell the assets of the company and pay off its debts in a particular order. Customers who are owed money are often a low priority for repayment. Other creditors, such as banks who have secured their loans against the business assets, employees and, of course, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will all be paid first. Your rights in these circumstances will depend on where you are in the ordering process and how you paid for the goods concerned.
Credit Notes, Gift Tokens and Faulty Goods
By accepting a credit note or buying someone a gift token, you are giving the trader credit. If they are not credit worthy, you may find you may not be reimbursed. You should attempt to spend a credit note or gift token as soon as you hear that the company is in trouble. If you find that the store refuses to let you do this you should contact the liquidator and let them know about your claim. Keep a copy of your letter or e-mail to them. They will only pay your debt, or part of it, should there be any money left after higher priority creditors have been paid.
If the company has been sold to a new owner, the new owners will not have to pay compensation to you or honour a gift token. They will only do so as a gesture of goodwill.
Whether or not you are entitled to receive goods which you have ordered depends on whether they have been “earmarked” for you. You should contact the liquidator asking them to deliver the goods, giving any information that would help to identify the goods as belonging to you, for example an order number or agreed delivery date.
You paid with a debit or credit card
If the missing goods or gift token cost less than £100 and your credit or debit card provider is part of the chargeback scheme, you may be able to claim your money back. Contact your card provider, within 120 days of the transaction, and ask them to compensate you.
If the goods cost more than £100 but less than £30,000, you may have a claim against a credit provider under Section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1974.
If you are dissatisfied with the way that the credit provider has dealt with your claim under the above schemes, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman on 03001239123.
THIS FACT SHEET IS INTENDED AS A GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE LAW AND DOES NOT PURPORT TO RENDER SPECIFIC ADVICE, LEGAL OR OTHERWISE, SPECIFIC ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR PROBLEM SHOULD ALWAYS BE SOUGHT.