An official statement from the administrators of electrical retailer Empire Direct
has thrown the question of terms and conditions of sale under the spotlight:
The administrators of Empire Direct, which entered administration on Monday (19 January) , have confirmed that customers will not receive goods ordered because the company's terms and conditions state that the customer does not take ownership of goods ordered until delivery or collection. Refunds will not be possible due to Empire Direct's lack of funds when it entered administration. Money paid by customers was put into the company's overdrawn bank account.
Mark Firmin, joint administrator and KPMG Restructuring Partner said: "The customer phone line we established on Tuesday has received a thousand calls a day from concerned customers and so I am very aware of how regrettable this situation is for many customers of Empire Direct. Those who have paid by card should contact their card provider to establish whether they are entitled to a refund. We will be working with the card providers to facilitate refunds."
There are 5,800 customers who have placed and paid for goods that they have not yet received. Of these, 4,800 paid by card and, using banking industry data, the administrators estimate that just over 4,000 of these will be able to claim a refund from their card issuer.
The remaining customers will become unsecured creditors of the company and can lodge a claim with the administrators, though a dividend is not expected.
The administrators also confirmed that no further redundancies have been made and that their efforts to sell the business' assets were continuing, following receipt of 159 expressions of interest from potential purchasers, ranging from major international businesses to corner shops.
Customers who paid Empire Direct using a credit or Visa debit card should contact their card issuer or finance provider to seek a refund.
Any customers whose finance provider requires proof of failure to deliver can download a letter from the administrators confirming no outstanding orders will be fulfilled. This is available at www.empiredirect.co.uk.
Customers without the possibility of a card issuer refund can lodge a claim as an unsecured creditor at the company’s head office. A template is available at www.empiredirect.co.uk for customers to use.