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Retailer in administration – your rights

With the news last week of BHS going into administration following close behind Austin Reed, I thought it would be useful to provide details on your rights. Post updated 14 September 2018 to cover House of Fraser.

Gift vouchers

  • If the voucher is for any amount over £100 and was paid for by credit card then you have protection from the credit company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
  • It is possible that if you paid through your bank you could get your money back through Cashback. This is a voluntary scheme and you will need to check with your bank.
  • If the company is taken over by another one it does not have to honour the voucher but always worth checking. They may well be of the opinion that if they honour the voucher that you will return and if they don’t you will not go there ever and tell your friends so!
  • If you have bought your vouchers through a third party website it is worth contacting them. They do not legally have to refund you the money but they may as a goodwill gesture.
  • If the company isn’t honouring vouchers contact the administration company as soon as possible. You will be added to the creditors list, along with staff wages, the taxman etc., so it is highly unlikely that you will get your money but you have no chance at all if you don’t register your interest!
  • Keep hold of your vouchers. Even if the company goes into an administration a buyer may be found which may honour the vouchers.
  • Will your Gift Cards keep on giving? for more advice about gift cards

Still selling whilst in administration

  • Your rights remain the same. If an item has become faulty you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. However the administrators may just add you to the creditors list.
  • You have protection from the credit company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you bought the item on a credit card and the item was more than £100.
  • It is possible that if you paid through your bank you could get your money back through Cashback. This is a voluntary scheme and you will need to check with your bank.
  • The administrators will want to raise as much cash as possible so will continue to sell goods if trader is a retailer. This is where you may find some bargains and if you buy online you should still be able to return within 14 days under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. 
  • Remember though, that if any item you buy becomes faulty you may well not be able to return it if no buyer is found for the retailer!

Half way through a purchase or service

  • If you have ordered a conservatory and it is half built, you might well be stuck. It will be down to the administrators as to whether they will honour the rest of the work or whether you join the creditors.
  • If you have bought an item it may depend on where your purchase is in the system and what the administrators decide to do.
  • See above for claiming from the credit card company or bank. You may also be able to claim for finishing off the work.
  • If you bought an item online before the company went into administration it will depend on the deal as to whether you will get your item or refund. In the case of House of Fraser, if you bought your item before the takeover on 10 August 2018 you won’t get your money or your item. See below. More on what happened with Sports Direct and what it said and is now saying in the Guardian article House of Fraser customers furious as Sports Direct fails to give refunds

Move quickly

  • Soon as you hear a company may be in trouble use your gift vouchers.
  • If you have had that broken item ready to return sitting around waiting to be taken back do it soon as possible.
  • If you need to register as a creditor do it quickly. Remember though that you will be very low down the list and if you do get anything back it will be a percentage of the amount. Some administrators will see giving the majority of people a small return rather than fewer people a large percentage as a fairer way of spreading any money left.row of shops in shopping mall person walking along Administration your rights

BHS customer care mistakes which made it look like it didn’t care!

Faulty Product Faulty Customer Care at BHS!

Retailer in administration – your rights covered when BHS went into administration

I purchased an ice hockey game for a Christmas present last year for brothers who were obviously disappointed when they found that everything other than the table was missing! Seriously!

I took the item back (oh so you would have looked inside the box before buying would you? Yes well I didn’t, I didn’t think BHS was like a well known DIY stores with missing pieces in their kits did I?!)

So, I wrote to BHS. Why didn’t I take the item back to the shop? Why should I? More inconvenience! It was no use to anyone, wasn’t like they could sell it to anyone! I wanted a replacement though so would have done if it was for a replacement. But the service got worse so consequently did my willingness to be accommodating. Okay so there wasn’t much tolerance there in the first place and your point is? I was told that I would need to return the item to where I bought it and they could pull up the invoice so long as I bought it within a month. I informed them that it was not within the month. I then received an email saying that it was difficult to comment on whether the item was faulty. D’oh! I think it’s quite obvious if an air hockey set has all the pieces other than the table missing that the product is faulty? The actual table wasn’t faulty though, that much was true.

So, I wrote again spelling out the “fault”! They responded again. Their response ignored the point that I no longer had the receipt, (the item was reduced significantly after Christmas) so if I took the item back I wouldn’t get a full refund. I also requested payment for the diesel used in driving to take the item back, I didn’t request money for my time in doing so though, which was an error on my part but I did ask for redress for the inconvenience! They didn’t offer to source a replacement from another store which I requested either.

So I wrote again. I basically repeated myself and was told that I could contact my local store and see if they had any in their warehouses. Given the circumstances I would have expected the Customer Services staff to do this. You wouldn’t? Well perhaps you need to expect better service!

So… I wrote again (are you keeping up? This is the 4th time of writing to them. I said that I didn’t have the receipt. Yes, I did say that before.

I was told “if it is a manufacturing fault…” casting doubt on half the product missing being faulty and/or insinuating that I was not telling the truth! The first assumption would be stupid but not the first time staff questioned whether a box missing all the pieces was faulty, the second, well let’s just say that’s when I see red.

So, I wrote again saying I expected to be compensated for the travel and inconvenience and offered to post the item back if they provided me with postage. Guess what I got in the email response? A blank email. Yep, blank.

BHS repeatedly told the same thing

So… I emailed again. Okay I’ve lost count now. On the 6th time? This time I emailed the CEO though. I pointed out that my points regarding redress for the inconvenience had been ignored as had my suggestion of posting the item and the final question as to why I was sent a blank email. I also informed him that the unnecessarily long protracted correspondence had been with various staff which in itself is poor service, communication should be with one person to keep continuity. Bullet pointed the list of correspondence and the failure of staff to deal with the matter.


I received an email back from the CEO’s department. I got £30 refund and £15 BHS voucher. They said I could keep the table and do what I liked with it. Ideas on a comment? I sent a cheque for £30 to the boys (yep I think that went down better than the original present fully complete would have done!)


Very poor customer service! Repeatedly not answering simple queries. Begs the questions “What part about the parts are missing don’t you understand?” and “What part of “No” don’t you understand?” and (well you get the picture). It’s not good to have different people respond to a customer either. It’s rude, disrespectful and shows that they don’t care enough to see the problem through. Their customer care could do with reading this.

Customer Service 0 out of 10
CEO 5 out of 10
CEO Office 9 out of 10
Prize £30 refund plus £15 voucher

Rating BHS needs to take stock in more ways than one!