Electricals retailer Maplin has collapsed into administration. Its 217 shops across the UK and Ireland will stay open and continue to trade for the time being, though – here's what we know so far about how gift cards, online orders and your return rights are affected.
PWC has been appointed administrator of the London and Rotherham-based firm, and says it will look to "achieve the best possible outcome" for the firm's employees and stakeholders. Some 2,335 jobs are thought to be at risk.
Maplin wasn't the only company that went into administration last week. See our Toys R Us goes into administration MSE News story as well.
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Got Maplin gift cards? Use them NOW
If you have gift vouchers for a company and it goes into administration, unfortunately it's usually tough luck for you as companies will often stop honouring them.
That's not the case with Maplin yet – Maplin gift cards CAN still be used in stores and online at the moment. But PWC says it is "currently assessing the status of gift cards", so this could change at any time.
Therefore if you've got any, use them as soon as you can.
Awaiting an online order? You'll still get it – but it might be delayed
Maplin is continuing to trade and its stores are still open for business, though it remains to be seen for how long.
PWC says any outstanding online orders will be delivered as normal, although they could be delayed by a few days. It says there will also be a delayed response to customer enquiries over the next few days.
Maplin is still taking online orders, but given the often unpredictable nature of administration and the fact you'll have to pay then wait for your item to be delivered, think very carefully before ordering anything online.
If you're waiting on a Maplin home installation for something such as CCTV or a burglar alarm, PWC says it's reviewing these orders and it'll be in touch "in due course". We've asked multiple times whether it's possible to cancel your order and get a full refund rather than sit tight and wait for the outcome – but PWC has said it can't give us an answer. It's told us customers should continue checking its advice page for updates.
Return rights remain the same... for now
Maplin's returns policy remains the same for the time being – it offers a full refund or exchange within 30 days for online and in-store purchases, so long as the items are returned unused, with all accessories, instructions and packaging, and with proof of purchase.
However, PWC says this is under review, so its policy could change.
What's happening with Maplin's extended warranties?
Maplin offers 'Protect plans', which cover products against breakdown and accidental damage for three years. These are no longer being sold online.
We've asked PWC whether existing Protect plans will be honoured, but again, frustratingly, it isn't able to tell us at the moment. The Protect terms and conditions state that Maplin can cancel existing plans by giving 30 days' notice and a pro-rata refund of the fee paid for the remaining days of the plan, but it's not clear so far what the outcome will be.
What about Maplin's mobile phone and tablet repairs service?
Maplin offers a mobile phone and tablet repair service through a partnership with repair specialists iSmash in three of its stores.
PWC has said the administration won't affect iSmash at all.
What does Maplin say?
In a statement Maplin's CEO, Graham Harris, said the chain had struggled to raise investment – required due to the fall in the value of sterling post-Brexit, a weak consumer spending environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance (insurance that protects businesses from risks beyond their control) – and that this had ultimately led to administration.
He said: "I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process. During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business.
"We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere."