Toy subscription service Whirli goes into administration - what it means for refunds and returns
Children's toy subscription service Whirli has gone into administration. The collapse affects around 10,500 customers. Here's what it means for your refund and return rights.
Update: 11 August 2022: Whirli has since been bought out of administration and relaunched by a company called Rotate-It Ltd. However, the firm has NOT taken on any liability for former customers' refunds or subscriptions.
This means the information below still stands for customers of Whirli when it went under; if you are due a refund you can either register as a creditor or, if eligible, submit a chargeback or Section 75 claim to try to get the money you're owed. You may also need to return or pay for any toys you've still got.
If you want to re-join Whirli, you'll need to take out a new subscription. Just make sure to first cancel any payments still going to the former owner - though these should have automatically been stopped.
Whirli, a start-up that formed in 2018, sold monthly, bi-annual and annual subscription packages that gave customers tokens to borrow toys and swap them for others on return, with the option to keep a toy forever after eight months.
Geoff Rowley and Ian Corfield of business advisory firm FRP Advisory were appointed administrators for Whirli on 11 May. They say the company went under due to a lack of funding.
If you're looking to get your kids toys for less, see our Cheap Online Shopping guide to learn top techniques, and consider using cashback sites and cashback credit cards to get maximum value - though only borrow if you can afford to meet repayments in full each month.
Make sure payments are no longer being taken
All Whirli subscriptions have been cancelled by the administrators.
Monthly users who paid by direct debit should also have seen these automatically cancelled when the administrators took over. However, if for any reason your direct debit is still active, you can cancel it yourself via your banking app (in most cases you can click on the payment and select "cancel") or by calling your banking provider. See our Direct debit audit guide for more info on this.
Bi-annual and annual subscribers had to pay upfront by credit or debit card, so they won't need to check their direct debits.
All can apply to the administrators for a refund - though there are no guarantees
FRP Advisory says it is encouraging all customers, those who paid for bi-annual or annual subscriptions as well as those who paid monthly, to get in touch and register as a creditor.
Whether refunds can be paid depends on how much cash is left once the administrators have paid everyone Whirli owed money to - and consumers usually come bottom of this list.
To register as a creditor with the administrator, you'll need to provide proof, such as a copy of your subscription details that were sent to you in an email, and complete a proof of debt form. To get the form, you'll need to contact the administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may, however, be better off trying to claim via chargeback or Section 75 - see directly below for more on this.
Annual and biannual subscribers can also try chargeback or Section 75
Those who paid for bi-annual and annual subscriptions by debit or credit card may be able to get their money back if they paid on card.
- If you paid on credit card and the subscription cost more than £100, you can submit a Section 75 claim. Here, your card provider is legally obliged to act if you don't get the goods or services you paid for. See our Section 75 guide for full details on how to submit this type of claim. Some subscriptions offered by Whirli totalled well over £200 when paid bi-annually or annually.
- Alternatively, if you paid on debit card, or on credit card and the subscription costs less than £100, submit a chargeback claim. This is where you can ask your bank to reverse a transaction in order to get your money back. You normally have 120 days from when you paid to submit a chargeback - see our Chargeback guide for more info on how to do this.
You'll either need to return or pay for any toys you've still got
For those who still have toys from Whirli, what you need to do depends on your subscription type.
- Got a monthly subscription? You'll be given the option to either pay for the toys in full or return them. You'll be given details on how to return or pay for the toy by contacting either Whirli's customer services on email@example.com or the administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Got a bi-annual or annual subscription? You'll be asked to return the toys. You'll be given details on how to do so by contacting either Whirli's customer services on email@example.com or the administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org. We've asked Whirli why you can't keep any toys and we will update this story when we know more.