Published On: Mon, Apr 15th, 2019

Customer loses out in House of Fraser administration muddle | The Crusader | Finance

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Paula Ryan’s experience also highlights another aspect of consumers’ rights in times of retail chaos – where shoppers stand if they have purchased from a franchise or concession. Timing was not on her side when she bought a pair of silver flats for £27 from retailer Office through HoF’s website on August 9 last year. “I got them a day later, decided they were not for me and would return them  just as the administration was announced,” says Paula.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on ++;

“I took them to Office in a HoF store in London. But there was a sign up saying no refunds were being given and it had to be done by post. I did however see some concessions there refunding customers.”

Among general advice to customers the administrator Ernst & Young (EY) did recommend customers who had purchased prior to August 10 to try for a store refund.

Paula was directed by HoF to E&Y and says she returned her shoes by registered delivery as instructed. Her understanding was the shoes may have ended up in a courier warehouse and could be returned.

But when she didn’t hear she asked Crusader to help. We drew a blank too however. EY referred us to HoF/Sports Direct which did not respond. Office maintained it had accepted returns in its HoF concessions.

Paula could have tried a chargeback through her bank debit card but has had enough of forms, saying: “If a refund appears great, otherwise if I were in this situation again I would consider just selling any goods myself.”

Paula’s name has been changed

Check your rights in CONCESSIONS 

Confusion often reigns for customers caught up in the crisis of a retailer’s administration and sale to a new owner. But for those with goods that were purchased from a concession or franchise the position can become even more muddled.

While who owns what is not uppermost in shoppers’ minds when they buy normally, times are uncertain on high streets and they should know who they are dealing with. And that may not be obvious despite a seller being part, say, of the same branded area on a floor. 

“It really matters is who your contract is with, so looking at your receipt,” advises Which? consumer rights expert Adam French. 

“The set up of franchises and concessions varies a lot. See how they are linked or excluded from a store’s policy. It’s often on a case by case basis.”

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