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Dwell ceases trading Q&A: Your rights

Guy Anker Managing Editor
Published 20 June 2013
Last updated 4 Jul 2013

Update 4 July. This story is now out of date as Dwell has been sold to its founder, although there's no news on whether customers will receive orders made before it went into administration. For the latest situation, see our updated Q&A: Dwell rescued, but no news on undelivered orders

Furniture and homeware chain Dwell has today ceased trading, with all 23 stores to close immediately and no customer orders to be delivered as things stand.

Here's a Q&A on your rights, after the collapse of the latest big high street name.

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What's actually happened to Dwell?

Troubled Dwell today confirmed it has ceased trading, following weeks of speculation. All its stores, and its website, have closed.

Administrators have not yet been appointed. When they are, it is their job to gather all the store's assets and distribute as much as possible to those owed cash, such as staff, customers and suppliers. Customers, however, tend to be at the bottom of the priority list.

It is unclear at this stage whether administrators will try to sell the company, which could mean it later reopens, or completely close it down.

In recent years Dwell expanded from its London base, opening stores in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

I've got Dwell items on order. Will they be delivered?

No, as things stand. However, we do not yet know if that will be the case for good. We will only know once administrators are appointed.

Sadly, anyone who made an order in the past few weeks may well be expecting something as customers must often wait at least two months for a delivery.

Will I get my money back if my items fail to arrive?

If you paid by cash or cheque, then it is highly unlikely you will get your money back. Customers are at the bottom of the queue when it comes to payouts from administrators.

If you paid on card, then you have rights.

  • Credit card payments for items between 100 and 30,000. If you paid on credit card and the item cost 100 or more, even if you paid just 1 of the cost on a credit card (and the rest by another means), you are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (see our Section 75 Refunds guide). Here, card companies are jointly liable with a retailer if something goes wrong, if the item was 100 or more. So if the item never arrives, ask your card company for a refund.
  • All other card payments. If you bought goods on a debit card, or goods under 100 on a credit card, you may still be able to claim for faulty goods under the Visa, Mastercard or American Express chargeback schemes, though this only applies within the first 120 days after buying the goods. The protection is less strong than Section 75, but it's certainly worth a try.

I need to return a faulty Dwell item. What are my rights?

If stores continue to stay closed, then you won't be able to return it.

However, you may have some options:

  • Check if it came with a manufacturers' warranty. If so, make a claim via the manufacturer.
  • Did you buy an extended warranty? If so, this is a contract with a third party insurance company so it should still be valid anyway. If you're unsure, if the contract says it's "regulated by the Financial Services Authority (or Financial Conduct Authority)", it's probably an insurance contract. Therefore, it should be valid as normal. To make a claim, contact the insurer.
  • If you've no warranty. If those options fail then you may be able to get a refund if you paid by card. See the section above on undelivered items for your rights. Faulty items are treated in the same way as those that never turn up, so card firms may have to pay out.

I have a Dwell gift voucher. Can I use it?

Dwell spokespeople have yet to confirm whether or not it sold vouchers. If so, they certainly won't be usable as things stand as stores are closed and its website is down, but it remains to be seen if they will be accepted if stores reopen.

Are defunct gift vouchers protected if I paid by card?

This depends how you bought them and how much they are worth.

  • Credit card payments for items of 100-30,000. If the vouchers are eventually deemed defunct, you may be able to get your money back if they were for over 100 and bought on a credit card under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. However, this is a largely untested area of law. We would strongly suggest that if you did buy gift vouchers of 100 or more, you try this route see our Section 75 Refunds guide for full help on how to do this. If it fails or you're not eligible, see below.
  • All other card payments (plus failed Section 75 claims). If you bought goods on a debit or credit card, you may still be able to claim for faulty goods under the Visa, Mastercard or American Express chargeback schemes, though this only applies within the first 120 days of buying the goods. More help on how to do this in our Chargeback guide.

What about staff? What happens to them?

All employees have been asked to stay at home pending confirmation of the appointment of administrators.

If staff are eventually made redundant, they have statutory rights to redundancy pay and cash for unused holidays this is met by the Government if Dwell itself can't pay.

If your job is at risk, or you are made redundant, read our Redundancy Guide for your rights.

Dwell is the latest in a number of stores which have gone into administration in recent months, following Dreams, Comet, HMV, Jessops and JJB Sports.

Additional reporting by Michael Connolly.

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