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Farepak in administration: What to do? (Merged Thread)
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# 1
MSE Martin
Old 11-10-2006, 12:34 PM
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Default Farepak in administration: What to do?

Farepak 'What to do now' Guide


by Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com. Last updated: 4 Dec
Contents Below Include:

  • Background Briefing
  • Ways to get your money back

    - Stop any current payments
    - Put in a claim
    - Credit card holders use section 75
    - Visa debit holders try a chargeback (inc. special notes for HBOS, Lloyds, Abbey, A&L and Co-operative Bank customers)
    - Sainsbury voucher buyers can get 25% back
    - The Farepak Response Fund
    - Liverpool Victoria giving £100
    - Argos giving money-off vouchers
  • Where to protest and/get individual advice
  • Christmas MoneySaving, celebrate for less
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This site is the UK's biggest money website, with 1.2 million monthly users. It focuses on helping consumers and taking companies on! It's owned, run and written by (me) Martin Lewis; I'm an ultra specialised journalist and broadcaster. Links: About the site, Martin Lewis Biography.

As this is a fast moving subject, to make it easy to change, it's here in the Forum not on the Main Site

Background Briefing

As most Farepak savers will know, on Friday 13 October the hamper savings company (and Freedom2shop) went into administration. This is a horrible situation for many agents and customers who are seeing their Christmas lost.


Saving for Christmas, rather than building up debt is to be loudly applauded, and thus it's a tragedy that for many people, being sensible with their cash that this has happened. However, sadly, this has always been a concern, I've never been a fan of Hamper schemes as there is no protection (more on this later).

What is 'administration'?


This means insolvency practitioners have been called in to run the company and get what cash they can for the creditors via selling or utilising the assets. In theory you can keep the business running as a ‘going concern’ but as this is a retail company whose reputation has now been slaughtered, that is unlikely. Most likely the insolvency practitioners will simply collect in the assets, try and sell what they can and then distribute whatever cash remains to creditors.

When the money is distributed there’s a priority of who gets the money, which usually works a bit like this:

• The Insolvency Practitioners (if they didn’t get paid they wouldn’t do the job in the first place). Sadly as there are a lot of customers it’s likely the insolvency costs will be high – sending out letters and communicating is expensive.

• Any secured creditors (if they’ve borrowed secured on property/assets)

• Any employees (redundancy pay)

• Everyone else ranked equally (this includes customers, the Inland Revenue etc and all will be ranked pro-rata)

What this means in practice

It means to get money back from Farepak you’ll have to apply for it. It has already said customers won’t receive their hampers, vouchers or get a refund. There is a chance you may get some money back later in the administration process, but you should plan for it not to be very much, at a pure guess 10p in the £1. Plus this will take some time; it sadly won’t be before Christmas.

Why the trade bond won’t help


While the Hamper Industry Trade Association (Hita) has a bond covering Farepak customers’ money it has told Trading Standards this isn’t sufficient to cover all customers’ money.

What this bond really means is Farepak left Hita a deposit when it became a member of the association – yet this will simply go back to the administrators, who will take it into account when they distribute the assets.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep up with developments


This is a fast changing information - if any further methods to get refunds from Farepak are reported, they'll be included when necessary in the free weekly money tips e-mail. Do ensure you're getting it (it's free, ad-free, your email will never be passed on and you can cancel any time).


Step-by-step guide to getting your cash back


There are no hard and fast rules, yet there are number of steps any Farepak savers should take to maximise the chance of getting their money back and minimising the damage.


STEP 1. Immediately stop any automatic payments being made

First stop any automatic payments you have set up, i.e., direct debits, recurring payments from credit cards etc. Direct debits can be cancelled simply by contacting your bank to stop the regular payment.


Don’t pay anything else to agents. If agents have any customers’ money still they should return it and make a note in customers’ books that this has been returned.

Do you have a credit card recurring payment set up?


If you have a credit card recurring payment set up - then sadly it's not for you to stop it but the company who its set up to - in this case Farepak. The current advice from Trading Standards says get in contact with the administrators and ask it to stop the payment immediately.

This is a standard problem with recurring payments, however, I also suggest you contact the credit card company itself. While it may tell you it can't cancel the payment from its end, it's worth having a go, and requesting that a note be put on your file explaining that you've asked the company to stop the payment.

STEP 2. Make a claim


There’s a note from the administrators with all the information you need to make a claim on Farepak’s website. This will be updated regularly; it was last updated on 27 November. Customers/agents can make a claim to the joint administrators, BDO Stoy Hayward, in any of three ways:

  • By post: Write to: Farepak Food & Gifts Limited - In Administration, Kings Wharf, 20-30 Kings Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3EX
  • By email: customer.claims@farepak.co.uk
  • By fax: Fax: 01793 606012
Update Note 28.11.06. Customers are now receiving their paperwork from the administrators. If you need extra claim forms you can now download them from the Farepak website.


STEP 3. Did you pay for any of it on a credit card? If so 'hoorah!'



If your hamper/vouchers cost over £100 and you paid all or even part of this on a credit card then your credit card company is equally liable under the law with Farepak, and you should make a claim against it for your money. This is a legal protection that you have and should mean you get all your money back. For full details on Section 75 please see the Consumer Rights Article.

STEP 4. Did you pay on a Visa Debit card?


If you paid for Farepak on a Visa debit card, there is a real chance you can get your cash back. Unlike with credit cards, this isn't a legal protection, but a protection from Visa's own rules. It's all about Visa's 'chargeback' system.

What is chargeback?

It's effectively Visa's own refunds system. It's designed so that if you pay for something and that order hasn't been adequately completed or is never received, or the order is illegitimate in some way, your bank can do a chargeback on the bank that collected the payment.

The crucial part of this is that the chargeback means you're asking for a refund from Farepak's payment processing bank rather than Farepak itself, which is great news, as Farepak has no cash, but its bank does!

7 Nov. First Chargeback Successes reported.

The first reports of Chargeback successes are now coming through; one woman has been told by her bank she'll be given the full £1,100 back by December.

I'll be honest, when I first suggested people try this it was as a "it's worth having a go, you've got nothing to lose" as this is an arcane piece of internal Visa regulation. Yet more and more people are reporting successes and it seems there's real hope. Now don't get your hopes up too much; it's still not guaranteed you'll succeed, but it appears there's a realistic chance.

How do you do a chargeback?


Quite simply call up your bank, with all the details of the payments made to Farepak (check your statements, if you don't have them ask the bank for details, but this slows things down) and ask it to start the 'Chargeback procedure' to get you your money back on the basis of "non-delivery of the goods".

At this point it's quite possible the person you're talking to will never have heard of chargeback. Yet don't let that put you off. This is a legitimate system, and you need to (politely) stand your ground. If the bank says no, write an official letter of complaint and note that you'll be writing to complain to Visa.

Luckily, the more people who try to do a chargeback, the more likely it is the banks will know the process and proceed.

What about other debit cards?

If you paid via another type of debit card, you could have a go at the same process, but the rules are different and nowhere near as strong.


UPDATE 13.11.06 Halifax Bank of Scotland and LLoyds TSB will pay all back
Lloyds TSB has publically announced it will give all its customers who paid on a credit card or debit card a refund for all Farepak cash, even those who haven't yet claimed. Also HBOS has told a journalist for the Sunday Post in Scotland (who's been following the Visa Debit successes of people from this site) it will do the same, sending out forms to everyone who spent on the card, even if they haven't tried to reclaim yet.



UPDATE 22.11.06 Abbey, Co-operative and Alliance & Leicester to pay via Chargeback

Abbey, Co-operative and A&L have all said they'll refund any Farepak customer with a valid claim who paid on a debit card.

STEP 5. Were you buying Sainsbury's or John Lewis vouchers?


If you were buying Sainsbury or John Lewis vouchers both have said they'll honour them with Sainsbury's saying it will honour its vouchers to 25% of the amount saved. Read more



STEP 6. The Farepak Response Fund

Charity Farepak Response Fund has been set up, with the encouragement of policitians, who are urging big business to contribute as 150,000 people have lost money. Many companies have already donated, including £250,000 each from Tesco and M&S and £2m from HBOS.

Update 28.11.06. The deadline for donations has been extended to 6pm, Wed 29 Nov. Plus, there's now a way to donate up to £25. Text eg FAREPAK25 (to donate £25) to 81404 and you'll be contacted for full details. The payment provider, Luup, has pledged to donate 20% on top. Plus remember to agree for your donation to include Gift Aid, which costs nothing extra for you but means the fund can get extra.

The distribution process is still being determined but it's likely the money will be distributed through registered Farepak agents. The fund aims to complete the process by 18 December.

20 Nov. As a quick note, on behalf of the site, I donated £1,000 to the Farepak Fund today.

Update 28.11.06. The Farepakresponsefund still wants to hear from you if you're an agent and have had a full or partial refund. Please do be fair to other Farepak customers and let the fund know as soon as possible. You need to email cb@farepakresponsefund.org.uk or call 0845 370 40 80giving your surname, agent number, how much you've been refunded and how much you paid in originally.

Update 4.12.06. Work began today to distribute the funds donated (these will be in the form of vouchers). Former Farepak agents should receive them by 18 December. Agents will receive a proportion of the amount they banked rounded up or down to the nearest £5.



STEP 7. Liverpool Victoria

Liverpool Victoria is offering £100 to members who were Farepak customers up to a maximum of £100,000 on a first-come first-served basis "one amount per household" basis. While the deadline for claiming is 5pm, 15 Dec it's best to get your claim in early. Either write to 'Farepak Gift Scheme', The Farepak Officer, Marketing Department, Liverpool Victoria, County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF or email using the "contact us" form on its site here. Remember to include your full name and address, your Liverpool Victoria policy number and your Farepak reference number.



STEP 8. Argos/Homebase Money-off vouchers

Argos is giving out special Argos/Homebase money-off vouchers for Farepak customers. Simply pick one up in Argos and show your Farepak payment card as proof when you use a voucher. The vouchers are (for Argos) £5 off in December, £3 off toys, £3 off jewellery and £3 off personal care and (for Homebase) £5 off a £50 or more spend. These can't be used in conjunction with other discounts
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

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Last edited by MSE Andrea; 06-12-2006 at 9:55 AM.
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# 2
MSE Martin
Old 11-10-2006, 1:12 PM
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Default Farepak in administration: What to do? (Merged Thread)


Where to protest and/or get individual advice

Write to your MP

It’s worth contacting your MP to let them know you’re affected. The truth is it is very unlikely to help in practice – but it may put some political pressure on to stop such a scandal happening again. To find contact details for your MP go to the Parliament website.

One of the reasons I’ve never liked these schemes is they are effectively savings schemes, but without the standard Financial Services Authority protections (with a normal deposit account up to £36,000 is protected). Perhaps it’s time these schemes were regulated.

The only savings schemes I suggest utilising which are not part of this are the Supermarket Schemes and then only for the loophole. Having said that Tesco and Asda are pretty solid businesses.

Stay Updated With Protests and Developments

Unfairpak, a forum set up especially to discuss this issue, has launched a petition calling on HBOS to refund money. Sign the petition.


If you're new to the site, Martin's Money Tips is a free (and ad-free) weekly e-mail on ways to save money. If important developments, campaigns or petitions happen, they'll be included.

Where to go for more advice?

Swindon Trading Standards (where Farepak's based) has issued a press release. Read it on the Swindon Trading Standards website. As it's in PDF format, you'll need adobe acrobat to read it (download it free here).

Questions or concerns that haven’t been answered elsewhere? Contact the Trading Standards advice line Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.

Updated 22.11.06: Unison offering help
Trade union Unison has said it can offer practical and possibly monetary assistance to customers who are members. Call 020 7551 1620 or e-mail welfare@unison.co.uk to find out what help may be available.


Christmas MoneySaving, celebrate for less

Let me not soft soap this. If your money is gone and this was all your spare funds, then there’s no magic answer. It's important to budget and plan based on the assumption that you won't get your money back.

Please don’t think 'the only solution is to borrow' for this Christmas. Remember, it is just one day of the year, and it’s more important to spend next year in financial security than to have a big festive blow-out and an unhappy debt-filled New Year.
  • Boost your remaining budget. There are lots of loopholes that will help boost your Christmas pocket. These include ways to increase your remaining Christmas budget with a supermarket stamp loophole, get cashback and cut the cost of spending. Read The 12 Ways of MoneySaving Christmas.
  • Festive Fivers for creative presents. Last year I ran a big competition for creative ideas for Christmas prezzies for less than a fiver. There are some quality ideas, well worth a read in Festive Fivers.
  • Ensure you keep an eye on deals. It's worth ensuring you're receiving my free weekly Money Tips email. I'm mindful of what's happened to Farepack and will keep an eye out for anything suitable to help over the next couple of months.

  • Use Freecycle for freebies. Freecycle is a website where members ‘recycle’ goods they’d otherwise have thrown out, in other words they’re given away free to someone else in the group. Some off the stuff is junk, some are top notch goods from generous people. Currently freecycle has a campaign on to help people who've lost out due to Farepack, so it's worth taking a peek.
  • Be honest to friends and family. Why not communicate to friends and family what has happened? It is in the news, people know about it. Tell them you’ve lost your Christmas fund and as such you can’t afford your normal gifts and presents. Most people will understand. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s also worth sitting down with kids and explaining to them what has happened.

    Sadly you’ve been a victim. This can happen in life and it’s an important lesson. It’s much better to explain calmly the facts than over-borrow and have a hellish year. Try it – children are far more forgiving of such things than many think.
Feel free to discuss this below, just click reply.

Martin
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

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Last edited by MSE Andrea; 06-12-2006 at 10:02 AM.
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# 3
-Eddie-
Old 14-10-2006, 6:28 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
Default Farepak in administration: what to do

Farepak who took over from choices in february this year have gone bust and the recievers have been called in, these are the people whom u get the high street vouchers from.

Anyways the girlfriend gives her sister money every month 4 these vouchers and she has nearly paid up what she owes on the vouchers, i think that they were due to get them at the end of this month or early next month.

So the sister has been trying to pay 4 this months installment all week on the website www.farepak.co.uk , the website is working fine as normal apart from the fact that when u get to the payment method it won't let u pay and just says that the website is undergoing maintenance , she thought nothing was wrong until she rang the "hotline number" 0800 389 8069 and all there is on there is a automated message telling u basically that the recievers have been called in and that u will recieve no vouchers and no refund at all.

Now the family and friends have lost nearly £3000 pounds in these vouchers and presents that they have ordered and paid for.

If anyone else can comment on this then please do as we all need to know whats going on and if we can claim any of the money back, hopefully the company will get taken over like last time but we are not holding our breath.

Many thanx

eddie
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# 4
Frell
Old 14-10-2006, 6:35 PM
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http://www.investegate.co.uk/Article...0131759254833K

Looks like they have been taken over, So maybe all will work out fine best thing is to keep an eye on the news.
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# 5
-Eddie-
Old 14-10-2006, 6:53 PM
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Cheers Frell, i have had a look but its this bit that i don't get

On 13 October 2006 EHR announced the Appointment of an Administrative Receiver
to European Home Retail plc, noting that this had been as a result of the
appointment of an Administrator by its subsidiary Farepak, and an inability to
reach a funding agreement with its bankers.

Findel is confident that the businesses which are being acquired, are strong and
can flourish under Findel's management and contribute to the overall strength of
the Findel Group. Findel is not acquiring the Farepak business.

So is findel taking over the people who own farepak but not the farepak business itself..

Still a bit unclear to me, sorry 4 being a bit dim.

ed
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# 6
ninja2111
Old 14-10-2006, 6:58 PM
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In the same boat Eddie

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....html?t=283178

Wanna share a sparrow for Xmas lunch?

Ninja
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# 7
earthmother
Old 14-10-2006, 7:12 PM
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Hoping Home Farm will continue trading - I have vouchers due from them, and they are pretty much the same people (I've placed orders with Farepak before now that have been combined onto the Home Farm statment). Rang their number, but it's just the usual 'closed' message you get at the weekends - but at least the report on Frell's link looks promising.


I think the whole group has been having problems for a while now. They administered the Choice vouchers until they went bust at the start of this year and were replaced with Bonusbond.


Really hope it isn't as bad as it appears for all of you who have saved with them this year.
DFW Nerd no. 884 - Proud to be dealing with have dealt with my debts
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# 8
Frell
Old 14-10-2006, 7:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Eddie-
Cheers Frell, i have had a look but its this bit that i don't get

On 13 October 2006 EHR announced the Appointment of an Administrative Receiver
to European Home Retail plc, noting that this had been as a result of the
appointment of an Administrator by its subsidiary Farepak, and an inability to
reach a funding agreement with its bankers.

Findel is confident that the businesses which are being acquired, are strong and
can flourish under Findel's management and contribute to the overall strength of
the Findel Group. Findel is not acquiring the Farepak business.

So is findel taking over the people who own farepak but not the farepak business itself..

Still a bit unclear to me, sorry 4 being a bit dim.

ed

The way I would see taking over the ownership would be anything that operates underneath that trade name, I am not too sure on this myself, I;ve just signed up with Park for next year now knowing my like they will go bust now :P
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# 9
-Eddie-
Old 14-10-2006, 7:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninja2111
In the same boat Eddie

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....html?t=283178

Wanna share a sparrow for Xmas lunch?

Ninja
Shall i bring the gravy ninja ???

no seriously if i find out anything more i will post up mate, keep them fingers crossed we might know more when it hits the papers..

ed
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# 10
katierose
Old 14-10-2006, 8:05 PM
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Oh Gosh just read this ,i,ve got vouchers to get as well.
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# 11
Teresa60
Old 14-10-2006, 10:06 PM
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I am saving with Freedom shopping, are they affected does anyone know?
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# 12
chrisandrob
Old 14-10-2006, 10:20 PM
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Im Gutted!! have used Farepak for years and now have a group of family and friends who save with them through me !!! £2010 total this year,now have to go round and dissapoint them all ,
Ninja you can save the Sparrowbones could nock up a nice soup for Christmas dinner !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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# 13
devizes18193
Old 15-10-2006, 9:21 AM
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Thanks for posting this .We where going to send them our last hamper payment on monday. At least now we can buy some thing else
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# 14
stenny
Old 15-10-2006, 9:40 AM
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Mum Lost £200
Sister £200
Sis-in-law £300
C0usin £800

Agent with other customers Total £3900
Last payment was last week and it completed the order!
Was always payed in direct to bank, so can't claim back of CC.

Gob-smacked!
But first, the most asked question:

Q "Is anything worn under your kilt???"

A "No. Everything is in perfect working order Thank You!!."
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# 15
trisontana
Old 15-10-2006, 10:03 AM
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I have never understood the attraction of these hamper companies. Wouldn't it be better to pay some money every week or month into a savings account and then use the money to buy your Christmas stuff. It must work out better value because some of your money in the hamper schemes has to pay for such things as agent's commission. Also I have found that the hamper invariably contains a few items which you don't want and so that's another waste of money.
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# 16
sazzlewhit
Old 15-10-2006, 10:49 AM
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I feel sick paid final payment of £1000 pounds to freedom2shop last week have just telephoned to be told by recorded message that no refund and no
vouchers will be sent. I spoke to them last week regarding my order for over £3500 and like many of you I am going to have to contact family and close friends to tell them that they won't be getting anything. Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they have robbed they're friends and family.
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# 17
stenny
Old 15-10-2006, 10:50 AM
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for anyone in Scotland, i've just heard it's in the Sunday mail about it.
But first, the most asked question:

Q "Is anything worn under your kilt???"

A "No. Everything is in perfect working order Thank You!!."
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# 18
cookie334
Old 15-10-2006, 10:52 AM
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Just wondering if anyone could tell me if Family Hampers are affected?

I really hope it all works out for you all and that you don't lose your money. This is terrible!
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# 19
stenny
Old 15-10-2006, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sazzlewhit
I feel sick paid final payment of £1000 pounds to freedom2shop last week have just telephoned to be told by recorded message that no refund and no
vouchers will be sent. I spoke to them last week regarding my order for over £3500 and like many of you I am going to have to contact family and close friends to tell them that they won't be getting anything. Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they have robbed they're friends and family.

I understand how your feeling, (although i am not in it) but all my family are and i feel especially sorry for the agents who have to break the news!
There agent (a family friend) has about the same amount as you.
But first, the most asked question:

Q "Is anything worn under your kilt???"

A "No. Everything is in perfect working order Thank You!!."
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# 20
stenny
Old 15-10-2006, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookie334
Just wondering if anyone could tell me if Family Hampers are affected?

I really hope it all works out for you all and that you don't lose your money. This is terrible!
best bet is to phone them/agent and ask instead of worrying
But first, the most asked question:

Q "Is anything worn under your kilt???"

A "No. Everything is in perfect working order Thank You!!."
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Cheap Travel Money

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TuneChecker Top Albums

  • VARIOUS ARTISTSNOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC! 88
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  • ED SHEERANX (DELUXE EDITION)

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