Menswear and suit hire firm Greenwoods went into administration last week. If you're a customer, here are the need-to-knows about suit hires, gift vouchers and refunds.
Greenwoods – which is headquartered in Bradford – runs 63 stores and two concessions across the UK. Professional services firm Deloitte was appointed to oversee the administration of the company on 6 September.
The firm is continuing to trade for the time being, though its website has been taken offline. Its shops will remain open, but will now only sell items rather than continuing to hire them out, and many customers with outstanding bookings are likely to be affected.
What if I've booked a suit hire for an event?
Greenwoods doesn't own the clothing it hires out to customers – this is owned and supplied to Greenwoods by a third party called ACS Clothing.
Deloitte says it's been informed by ACS Clothing that it'll no longer supply Greenwoods and that existing orders may therefore not be honoured.
However, ACS Clothing says it is working with customers directly regarding the completion of any unfulfilled Greenwoods orders.
If you have an outstanding order with Greenwoods, you can contact ACS Clothing at email@example.com. However you may have to pay ACS Clothing a fee for your order to be honoured. It says:
- If you paid Greenwoods in full by credit card... you'll need to pay the full amount to ACS Clothing, and then reclaim from your credit card company (see how below).
- If you paid Greenwoods in full by cash... you'll need to pay 50% of the full amount to ACS Clothing.
- If you've paid a set deposit, eg £100 or 50% of the cost... you'll need to pay ACS Clothing the remainder of what you would have paid Greenwoods.
Joni O'Brien, UK sales director of ACS Clothing, said: "We want to reassure every wearer that we can fulfil their orders in advance of their function and we are here to help. We are swamped on the phone lines just now because we’ve gone from dealing with 60 experienced stores to attempting to handle calls from 10,000 concerned consumers.
"This has come as an enormous shock to us and we’re working round the clock to make sure every outfit for every function is sent on time and no one is let down."
One MoneySaver, who asked not to be named, contacted us on Tuesday to say his daughter had booked to hire several suits from Greenwoods for a wedding this weekend, at a total cost of £700. After a number of the suits failed to arrive, she contacted Greenwoods and was directed to ACS Clothing.
He says that ACS Clothing agreed to honour the order but initially said it would charge a £350 handling fee. The MoneySaver's daughter says she negotiated this charge down to £85, though ACS Clothing says it has no record of this. So it may be worth trying to haggle if you're asked to pay a fee, although this may be a long shot.
ACS Clothing says it's not trying to profit from Greenwoods' entrance into administration, and is only charging fees to cover its own costs.
What can I do if I've lost money?
If you've lost out as a result of Greenwoods going into administration – for instance, if you've had to pay an additional fee for your booking to be honoured – Deloitte says you should fill in a proof of debt form.
That means you can try to claim a refund when the assets of the company are sold and shared out, though unsecured creditors often do not get back all they're owed.
Alternatively, if you paid by card, you may also be able to get a refund by trying the following:
- If you paid with a credit card for something costing more than £100... you should be covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This makes card firms jointly liable with the retailer if something goes wrong, such as a store going bust. See our Section 75 Refunds guide for full help.
- If you paid by credit card for goods under £100, or on a debit card... you may be able to claim via Visa or Mastercard's chargeback schemes. However, these are customer service promises, not legal rights. See our Chargeback guide for full info.
If you were hiring a suit for your wedding and have wedding insurance, you may also be able to make a claim. ACS Clothing says it has asked Deloitte to provide legal documentation that it can supply to those affected.
Gift vouchers are no longer valid
Greenwoods did offer a gift card scheme, although Deloitte says there are few currently in circulation.
If you do have a gift card, Deloitte says these are now not being accepted – and unfortunately you can't get a refund either.
How are return rights affected?
As well as suit hire, Greenwoods also sold menswear.
For these items it offered a 30-day returns policy, allowing customers to return unworn goods, as sold and with all original packaging, tags and labels attached, within 30 days – for whatever reason.
This policy – which goes above and beyond your statutory rights – is no longer being honoured. But Deloitte says you can continue to return items which are faulty within 14 days.
This story was updated at 3pm on Thursday 14 September to include a full response from ACS Clothing.