Discount shoe retailer Brantano has called in administrators for the second time in just over a year. Here are the key need-to-knows for customers about gift cards, refund rights and outstanding online orders.
The Hinckley-based retailer, which runs 73 stores and 64 concessions across the UK, was acquired by a company controlled by Alteri Investors in February 2016 – just a month after it first entered administration. However, the tough trading environment continued and Brantano has this week slipped into administration once again.
Administrators from professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) have been appointed to oversee the process, which will affect customers as well as more than 1,000 Brantano employees.
Brantano will remain open for business for the time being as the administrators assess its trading strategy and any interest in parts of the business over the coming weeks. But its website is no longer accepting orders.
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Your return rights – now only faulty goods are covered
Brantano's made changes to its returns policy as a result of going into administration.
According to the Brantano website, previously all items bought from it could be returned within 14 days, as long as they were in their original condition and you had proof of purchase.
However, PWC says customers will only get a refund for faulty goods. If you want to return something that isn't faulty, your only option now is to exchange it:
- If you bought goods before 22 March 2017: You must exchange them before or on Wednesday 5 April.
- If you bought goods on or after 22 March 2017: Exchanges are available "until further notice" – but as this is quite open-ended, you'd be wise to move fast.
It's worth noting that the rules work differently with online purchases. When buying online, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 you can normally change your mind and cancel the purchase within 14 days of receiving the goods, and you then have a further 14 days to return them.
We've asked PWC whether Brantano will still abide by these rules for online purchases now it's gone into administration, and will update this story when we know more.
Online orders may not arrive – and you may not get a refund
Brantano's stopped making sales via its website. If you made a purchase on Wednesday (22 March 2017 – the day it entered administration) you should shortly receive a refund.
Though if you're still waiting to receive an item you ordered before then, there's a chance it may not arrive – and if it doesn't, PWC says you WON'T automatically get a refund and will instead be classed as an 'unsecured creditor'. That means you can try to claim a refund when the assets of the company are sold and shared out, though unsecured creditors rarely get back all they're owed.
Thankfully if you paid by card, that's not your only option for a refund:
- 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.
Gift cards no longer honoured
Brantano doesn't issue its own gift cards, but it used to accept high street gift cards such as the Love2Shop brand.
But it now says it's no longer accepting any kind of gift card.
Brantano hit by a 'depressed and competitive market'
Tony Barrell, lead administrator at PWC, said: "Despite significant improvements in the business and reductions in the cost base, trading has continued to suffer in a depressed and competitive footwear market.
"Like many other retailers, Brantano has also been hit hard by the sharp decline in sterling, the ongoing shift in consumer shopping habits and the evolution of the UK retail environment."