Parts of furniture company Dwell have been rescued from administration by its founder, but customers who haven't received their orders still have no idea whether they'll get their goods.
Dwell ceased trading and went into administration two weeks ago (see the Dwell Ceases Trading MSE News story).
But its former administrator Duff and Phelps announced today the firm's founder, Aamir Ahmad, has bought the company back.
The deal will save 150 jobs, keep at least five stores in London, Essex and Manchester open and will mean its website can go live again.
Dwell is in negotiations with landlords with a view to reopening more of the remaining 18 stores, along with a concession in House of Fraser's Reading branch.
However, it's still not clear what's going to happen with unfulfilled orders, or whether gift cards will be honoured.
Here's an updated Q&A on your rights:
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I've got Dwell items on order. Will they be delivered?
Despite the long wait, Dwell is yet to confirm whether orders will be delivered.
Sadly, anyone who made an order in the weeks leading up to Dwell ceasing trading may be expecting something, as customers often had to 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's highly unlikely you'll 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?
It's unclear whether stores that reopen will accept returns. 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 has yet to confirm whether it will honour these.
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.
Which stores will reopen?
Stores in London's Tottenham Court Road, both London Westfield centres, Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex and Barton Square, Manchester are due to reopen this weekend, along with the Dwell website.
What about staff? What happens to them?
The deal to buy Dwell will save 150 jobs, although exactly what positions will be saved and at what stores has still not been confirmed.
Those who lose their jobs 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.