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The Body Shop falls into administration – your shopping, refund and gift card rights explained

Cosmetics retailer The Body Shop has fallen into administration, with almost half of its 198 stores set to close – including seven as soon as next Tuesday (27 February) – resulting in hundreds of workers facing redundancy. Below we round up all you need to know.

For more on your general administration rights, read our Company administration guide. If you're affected by the redundancies, you can see our Redundancy help guide.

Nearly half of The Body Shop's stores will close after it fell into administration

The Body Shop fell into administration on Tuesday 13 February, with insolvency firm FRP Advisory overseeing the process. This came after private equity firm Aurelius, which specialises in turning around troubled companies, took control of The Body Shop's operations at the start of this year.

On Tuesday 20 February, FRP announced that nearly half of the retailer's 198 stores would close. We've asked for a full list of affected stores and we'll update this story when we know more. In the meantime, the first seven stores to close – which will take place on Tuesday 27 February – are as follows:

  • Ashford Town Centre in Kent.
  • Queens Road in Bristol.
  • Nuneaton in Warwickshire.
  • And the following London branches: Canary Wharf, Cheapside, Oxford Street, Surrey Quays.

Around 270 head office jobs will be cut, with hundreds more redundancies expected as a result of the planned store closures.

FRP said: "After years of unprofitability and following a full evaluation of The Body Shop’s UK business, the joint administrators have concluded that the current store portfolio mix is no longer viable."

You can still buy in-store and online for now, but be wary of doing so

Any orders placed prior to The Body Shop going into administration will continue to be honoured as normal. You can also still buy goods from The Body Shop both in-store and online for now.

If you need a refund or if goods turn out to be faulty, you can still take them back to your nearest store for now (provided it's still open).

However, be warned: if The Body Shop were to stop trading entirely, you may struggle to get your money back. That's because you would have to file a claim with FRP and join a list of creditors owed money by The Body Shop – and there's no guarantee that you would get your money back in that situation.

Your only other option is to file a claim with your debit or credit card provider, if you paid using one of these. See below for more info on how to submit a claim to your card provider.

You can still return items within 45 days – but don't delay

If you've changed your mind about an item, The Body Shop is still honouring its returns policy by allowing you to return items bought in-store or online within 45 days, FRP told us.

  • Bought an item online? You can send it back by post – see The Body Shop's website for how to return an item – or return it in-store for a full refund.
  • Bought an item in store? You can bring it to any The Body Shop store with your receipt for a full refund. If you don't have a receipt, you'll be offered an exchange or gift card (though accepting a gift card is risky given the circumstances).

We'd recommend returning unwanted items sooner rather than later, if you can. As set out above, if the retailer were to stop trading altogether, you'd have to file a creditor's claim to try and get your money back and you may end up out of pocket. Alternatively, you could try to claim to your card provider if you used one to make the purchase.

Where goods are faulty, under consumer rights law you should be offered a repair, replacement, or refund – though again, this may be hard to enforce if the firm stops trading. See our Consumer Rights guide for more on this.

Gift cards can still be redeemed for now

Administrators are allowed to change gift card terms and conditions when a firm goes bust and whether you can claim for their original value isn't guaranteed.

However, FRP says The Body Shop will continue to accept own-brand gift cards both in-store and online for now. Multi-store gift cards, such as those sold by Love2Shop, will also continue to be accepted.

We'd recommend using any gift cards as soon as you can in case the retailer stops trading. Again, if this were to happen, you'd have to register to claim your money back from FRP or via your card provider and there are no guarantees this would work.

How to try getting your money back

If you're struggling to get your money back from The Body Shop, you can usually try to claim the cash from the administrator by becoming an "unsecured creditor". But here, you become another person on the administrator's list of people it owes money to with no guarantee of getting your cash back. 

Alternatively, if you paid on plastic you may be able to get your money back via your debit or credit card provider. 

If you paid with a debit card OR bought an item costing £100 or less with a credit card, try Chargeback. Here, your bank will try to get your money back from The Body Shop's bank. While it's not legal protection, it is a robust rule, which helps many people get their money back.

You typically have 120 days from the date of the purchase to submit a claim – so go quick – usually it's just a phone call where you tell the card firm what happened and ask it to do a chargeback, but for easy step-by-step help, see our Chargeback guide.

We suspect most transactions were under £100, but just in case, if you ordered any single item costing over £100 and paid on a credit card, then you also have even stronger Section 75 legal rights, which you can use to get your money back.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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