Belfast Telegraph

Concern rises over House of Fraser gift cards amid Sports Direct silence

The new owner is not responding to customer queries about the cards.

House of Fraser customers are becoming increasingly concerned that gift cards for the department store will not be honoured amid silence from new owner Sports Direct.

Customers were initially told to send in gift cards for a “replacement” shortly after Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct took over last month.

But they have reported they have heard nothing further, while Sports Direct is not responding to queries about the cards.

Which? consumer rights expert Adam French said: “The communication from House of Fraser on gift cards has been atrocious. It’s now more than a month since customers were told to send their gift cards in for a replacement and all they’ve heard since is silence.

“This is no way to treat loyal customers. If Mike Ashley is serious about turning House of Fraser into the Harrods of the high street it cannot be done with shoddy customer service.”

House of Fraser collapsed owing creditors such as Armani, Diesel and Prada a total of £484 million, documents from administrators Ernst & Young (EY) showed last month.

Trade creditors are owed millions between them, the report said.

If a store goes into administration, retailers can legally stop accepting gift cards, meaning you could lose your cash Steve Nowottny from MoneySavingExpert

Last week it emerged that customers who had put orders in to the store before the Sports Direct takeover had been advised to take up claims with administrators instead.

EY said in a statement: “Customers can submit a claim against the HF Stores Realisations Limited (formerly House of Fraser (Stores) Limited) for the refund. However, this will be treated as an unsecured creditor claim and unfortunately they will only receive a very modest recovery against the amount claimed.”

Steve Nowottny from MoneySavingExpert said: “Unfortunately, as the current confusion with House of Fraser shows, buying gift cards can be a risky business.

“If a store goes into administration, retailers can legally stop accepting gift cards, meaning you could lose your cash.

“In this case, it’s worrying that there’s still no clear information for customers on what’s happening with gift cards. Given House of Fraser has promised to reissue them, it’s essential it now does so.

“But many customers are understandably concerned that they’ve posted off their gift cards expecting to get a replacement weeks ago – and so far haven’t had anything back.”

Sports Direct did not respond to questions about House of Fraser gift cards.

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