Toys R Us has fallen into administration. Here are need-to-knows for customers on gift cards, outstanding online orders, return rights and the retailer's 'Take Time to Pay' layaway scheme.
The administrator Moorfields Advisory has been appointed to conduct what it called an "orderly wind-down" of the company's 105 UK stores, although the firm insists it is still seeking a buyer. Some 3,200 jobs are at risk as a result.
All Toys R Us shops will stay open until further notice, and there may be special promotions on clearance stock.
Toys R Us wasn't the only company that went into administration last week. Also see our Maplin goes into administration MSE News story.
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Got a gift card? Use it ASAP – it won't be valid after Sunday
If you have gift vouchers for a company and it goes into administration, unfortunately it's usually tough luck, as companies often stop honouring them immediately.
However, Toys R Us's administrator says gift cards and vouchers CAN continue to be used for the time being – but only while stores remain open and until Sunday 11 March at the latest. So if you have one, use it as soon as you can.
No new gift cards will be issued from now on.
Online orders will be honoured
The Toys R Us website stopped trading at 10am on Wednesday 28 February. Customers will no longer be able to place online orders – if you want to buy clearance stock, you'll have to go into one of its stores.
The administrator says all outstanding online orders ('click and collect' and delivery) will be fulfilled, as long as stock is still available.
Your return rights have changed
Toys R Us has made changes to its returns policy as a result of going into administration.
Under the Consumer Rights Act, you can normally get a full refund for faulty items within 30 days – see our Consumer Rights guide for more info. The administrator says Toys R Us WILL still be following this.
It will also continue to allow customers to return items bought online in line with the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 – so you can change your mind and cancel a purchase within 14 days of receiving the goods, and then have a further 14 days to return them.
But for other purchases Toys R Us WON'T continue to operate its long-standing returns policy, which extended beyond its legal obligations.
So don't assume you'll be able to get a refund, though Toys R Us says it will exchange goods in open stores as long as you have proof of purchase and items are unopened and in a condition they can be resold in.
Guarantees with Toys R Us are no longer valid, and customers are encouraged to contact the manufacturer if they have issues.
Paid using the Toys R Us layaway scheme? Act fast
Toys R Us's Take Time to Pay layaway scheme lets shoppers pick an item and choose whether to pay for it over four, eight or 12 weeks. You pick up the item once the full balance is paid. But the scheme doesn't protect your money in the same way that a UK-regulated bank does. (For more info on how the scheme works, see MSE Jenny's blog from 2016).
If you've been saving for a purchase using the Take Time to Pay scheme, the administrator says it'll only be honoured until Sunday 11 March – even if you weren't due to finish paying off the item until after that date.
So if you've money in the layaway scheme you should go into a Toys R Us store as soon as possible to avoid losing your cash. You can pay off the rest of the outstanding balance for the item you were saving for, or use your deposit to buy any other item. Toys R Us says it won't issue any cash refunds for any money in the Take Time to Pay scheme.
'We will be conducting an orderly wind-down'
Simon Thomas, a partner with Moorfields Advisory, said: "We will be conducting an orderly wind-down of the store portfolio over the coming weeks.
"All stores remain open until further notice and stock will be subject to clearance and special promotions. We're encouraging customers to redeem their gift cards and vouchers as soon as possible.
"We will make every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business."