Sports Direct buys House of Fraser - your rights explained
Sports Direct has bought department store House of Fraser after it fell into administration - stores will remain open but confusion reigns for those with gift cards.
Back in June the chain announced plans to close over 30 stores in 2019 as part of a rescue plan, as we told in our MSE News Story.
EY (also known as Ernst & Young) was appointed as the administrator for House of Fraser on Friday morning, but around 10am there was a stock market announcement from Sports Direct saying it has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser for £90m, the brand and all of the stock in the business.
House of Fraser staff were informed that they will be transferred over to Sports Direct.
Update: As of 4pm on Tuesday we're still waiting for the details from House of Fraser or Sport Direct on what is happening to gift cards, return rights or online orders, but here is what we know so far.
Got a gift card? There's still confusion over what's happening
House of Fraser is saying that customers who have gift cards will have to post them to its head office to have them reissued - but is unable to give ANY details of what the replacement will be for or where it can be spent.
A statement on its website says: "The business was purchased out of administration for a cash consideration. As a result of this process Sports Direct has no liability to customers in possession of existing gift cards and vouchers.
"However we encourage these customers in possession of gift cards and vouchers to send them into the House of Fraser head office at Gift Cards, 27 Baker Street, London, W1U 8AH, whereby replacements will be issued."
We have yet to be given any further official details from either Sports Direct or House of Fraser. They are refusing to say whether the replacement vouchers will be for House of Fraser or how long the reissuing may take, despite repeated calls.
House of Fraser's customer service team is also giving conflicting information. When we called on Monday we were told by one of its employees that the gift cards would be reissued for the same amount and would be able to be used in-store and online, but when we tried again on Tuesday the customer service assistant said she could not say anymore than it would be a 'replacement voucher' - and was unable to say where it could be used and whether it would be for the same amount.
If you do decide to go down the route of posting your voucher (despite there being such little information) it might be worth getting proof of postage, and keeping some evidence such as a picture of your gift card etc, just in case there are any problems.
You'll also need to include your contact details for the voucher to be returned to you.
We're continuing to try and get further details and will update this story when we know more.
What are my return rights?
Typically, if you bought something in-store from House of Fraser, you can return the item within 14 days for a full refund to the original payment method, regardless of whether it's damaged or not.
For returns outside of this period but within 28 days, you can exchange the item or be refunded with a gift card.
Online purchases can also be returned to store or to a House of Fraser return centre within 28 days of your order for a full refund, and within 35 days for a House of Fraser voucher.
House of Fraser's customer service team told us on Friday morning that this policy will remain as normal for now, but again, it's not yet clear what Sports Direct will decide to do, so if you have something you wish to return, don't wait, do it ASAP.
What if I have an outstanding online order?
We understand from House of Fraser's customer service team that it will be honouring outstanding orders, but we haven't had this confirmed from Sports Direct yet.
What does House of Fraser say?
House of Fraser chairman Frank Slevin said: "This has been an extraordinarily challenging six months in which the business has delivered so many critical elements of the turnaround plan.
"I am confident House of Fraser is close to securing its future."
Additional reporting by the Press Association.
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