Balsam Hill Christmas trees

GraceCourt
GraceCourt Posts: 317 Forumite
Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
edited 23 November 2021 at 12:11PM in Praise, vent & warnings
Apropos my post about UK consumer protection legislation requiring identity information about the trader, I've been corresponding with the Irish company that trades via www.balsamhill.co.uk.
They do have a UK VAT registration - GB213794603 - but despite their claims to also have a UK-registered company in Belfast, their Web site does not provide the identity information required by UK law (see "Part 6" in my post already referred to) and there is no record of any such Northern Ireland company at Companies House.  It's obviously of great concern that their "legal team" has provided details of a non-existent company and to be frank anyone who makes a purchase from Balsam Hill is effectively risking that they won't see their money again.  I'm sure that there are satisfied purchasers out there but I won't be buying anything from them.
So, in short, any UK consumer purchasing "Balsam Hill" Christmas trees, probably in response to their extensive TV advertising, ought to be aware that irrespective of any guarantee that the company claims to provide, buyers have no legal rights whatsoever in the UK and any unresolved issues arising out of such a purchase can only be enforced by taking action in the Irish Courts, which most people won't be prepared to undertake.
It's quite possible that the Advertising Standards Authority might make a ruling about these advertisements or even take them off the air completely as a consumer protection issue but as it's already November, any such enforcement action will be too late for this year's Christmas.


Comments

  • GraceCourt
    GraceCourt Posts: 317 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    edited 30 November 2021 at 7:01PM
    Further to the above, the issue of UK purchasers of this company's products has now been referred to Trading Standards for investigation, on the basis that the information provided by the Irish company about a UK-registered subsidiary registered in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, is completely untrue.
    In summary, any purchases by UK consumers of Balsam Hill products - especially in response to television adverts about their artificial Christmas trees referring to the Web site at balsamhill.co.uk - are not protected by UK legislation because the company is registered outside the UK.
  • hello - my heart sank when I saw this info, as I bought a tree from Balsam in this year's sale ( December 2021) and have been arranging for it to be returned.  This is a bit of a long tale, so bear with me.  I live in Northern Ireland.  I had no idea about the problematic background you have outlined, and am hoping it doesn't materialise in my own case, but so far, so good.   The tree  arrived promptly, was a good looking product, but was not what I was looking for, so I wanted to return it.  I found it impossible to contact the company using the customer services e-mail addresses they provided, ( it kept coming back as an 'unable to deliver' message) or the pro- forma they provided - it would not allow me to input my phone number, which was a compulsory field, before the form could be forwarded. But I eventually did get hold of a representative by phone, who was very helpful. I asked two specific questions: 1, according to the returns policy on their site, as there was nothing wrong with the product, I would be liable to a £15 returns fee - was this correct?  The advisor said yes, and this would be deducted from my refund; 2, I then asked who would pick the item up for return,  would the company pay for that, and how much would it be. The advisor said at first that I would be liable, and it would also be deducted from my refund. I asked how much it would be likely to be. She asked for my address, and when I said it was a Northern Irish address, she said that, as the tree had been in the sale at £79, it wouldn't be worth them arranging for a return. In the circumstances, I could keep the tree and donate it to a charity!  I said,  'you mean you are not going to charge me for the tree at all?' and the advisor said yes.  A day later, I got an e-mail saying the refund had been authorised and would be credited within 5 days.
    So at the moment, I'm waiting to see what transpires - I didn't handle the situation very well, in that I was so discombobulated, 
     I didn't ask the advisor for the agreement on the return in an e-mail, and I didn't aske for her name, either,  but I'm assuming that the notification of the refund is confirmation,  So far, I am surprised and more than pleased at how the company has handled this.
    I was wondering if I should contact the company again, just to verify, or would it be better to wait to see  whether the refund appears.  I'll let you know what happens! 

Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.1K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.2K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards