House of Fraser has announced it will refund online orders but customers remain confused over what’s happening with gift cards almost a week after the department store went into administration and was then bought by Sports Direct.
The department store has this afternoon said it will cancel and refund all outstanding orders, and affected customers will be emailed in the next few days.
We’ve seen dozens of emails and tweets from worried customers who are unsure what’s happening – and despite us contacting it every day this week, Sports Direct has failed to answer our questions.
To add to the confusion, House of Fraser’s website is currently down – a holding message says the company is “currently working hard to make some improvements” and the site “will be back up and running as soon as possible”.
If you’re a House of Fraser customer though there are some alternative routes you can try to get your money back. Here’s the latest we have on what’s happening and what you can do.
‘Ordered nearly a week ago… as yet no confirmation of goods’
Confused customers have been tweeting us and House of Fraser to ask for more information – here are just a few of the queries we’ve seen:
Ordered from @houseoffraser nearly a week ago, quick to take my money as yet no confirmation of goods, and guess what? The website is down ð
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Tania (@Taniajane555) August 16, 2018
LG (@meltedlemondrop) August 11, 2018
@houseoffraser Hi, I placed an order on 13th and you have taken payment – but I have not received any confirmation emails or delivery information!?? Please can you tell me whatâs happened to my order? Your website is down which is worrying! #wheresmyorderat
ThatGirl (@CazzClark) August 16, 2018
@houseoffraser I made an order on Sunday and still haven’t received my order. I paid for delivery and the money was taken out of my account. I would like to know if I am going to receive my order . If not can I have my money back so I can shop somewhere else .
— ShapisayiMangwende (@shapiman1) August 15, 2018
Got a gift card? There’s STILL confusion over what’s happening
If you have a House of Fraser gift card, you won’t be able to use it in its current form – customers report stores are no longer accepting them.
As House of Fraser had gone into administration before it was purchased by Sports Direct, technically Sports Direct is under no liability to honour gift cards – see more on the rules around this in our Gift card rights guide.
House of Fraser has said that customers who have gift cards can post them to its head office to have them reissued – however, it’s not given ANY details of what you’ll get as a replacement, so we don’t know where you’ll be able to spend it, how long it will be valid for or when it’ll arrive.
Sports Direct hasn’t given any info – when we called the Gateshead House of Fraser on Thursday afternoon we were told the replacement gift card would be valid at House of Fraser and Sports Direct, but we haven’t had any official confirmation of this.
So if you’ve a gift card, you’ve two options:
- Send off for a replacement gift card. As above, there’s no real info on what you’ll get in return, but this is what House of Fraser has said you should do. Post your card to House of Fraser’s head office at Gift Cards, 27 Baker Street, London W1U 8AH, and include your contact details so the replacement can be sent to you.
It’s worth getting proof of postage and keeping some evidence such as a picture of your gift card in case there are any problems. Make a note of the reference number too.
- Get the person who bought the card to claim from their credit/debit card firm instead. This could be tricky and there’s no guarantee of success, but you could try getting the person who bought the card to claim from their card firm instead – assuming they paid for it with a debit or credit card.
See full details of how this works and how to do this below – but beware, your claim may not be successful. The Law Commission – which has made recommendations to the Government in this area – told us Section 75 rules do apply to gift cards. It may be worth a go – let us know how you get on at email@example.com.
What if I have an outstanding online order?
After almost a week of confusion, House of Fraser has tweeted:
Due to delays with delivering online orders, we have taken the decision to cancel and refund all orders that have not already been sent to customers. All customers affected will receive an email in the next couple of days. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
— House of Fraser (@houseoffraser) August 16, 2018
What are my return rights?
Under House of Fraser’s standard returns policy, if you buy something in-store you can return the item within 14 days for a full refund to the original payment method, regardless of whether it’s damaged or not. For returns outside of this period but within 28 days, you can exchange the item or be refunded with a gift card.
Again, we haven’t had any official word on what’s happening from Sports Direct, but from speaking to House of Fraser staff it seems as though these rules do continue to apply for now. We called three stores on Thursday and were told customers can still get refunds for goods bought in-store so long as it’s within the returns period.
Under House of Fraser’s usual rules online purchases can be returned to store or to a House of Fraser return centre within 28 days of your order for a full refund, and within 35 days for a House of Fraser voucher. We haven’t had any official confirmation of whether these rules still apply – we’ll update this story when we know more.
If you’re unhappy with the response you’ve had from House of Fraser and want to try and get a refund from your card firm now, there are routes you can try – though there’s no guarantee of success.
Paid on credit card for an item worth more than £100? Try the credit card company
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, if you pay for goods that cost between £100 and £30,000 and you pay for any of it on a credit card, the credit company is jointly liable with the retailer if anything goes wrong. What that means is you don’t have to go to the retailer – you can choose to go to the credit card company and you have exactly the same consumer rights.
The Law Commission told us that if you’ve ordered something online from House of Fraser, haven’t received it and haven’t been told when it’ll arrive, you could try contacting your credit card provider to file a claim. You’ll need to explain that you’ve paid for a House of Fraser item that hasnt been delivered and are making a Section 75 claim – see more info in our Section 75 guide.
It’s unclear if this kind of claim will be successful at this stage though. The card provider may ask for evidence that the goods are not going to be delivered – the Law Commission says this may depend on House of Fraser or Sports Direct making a public statement about deliveries.
It’s possible you may also be able to make a Section 75 claim for gift cards, though note only the person who bought the gift card using a credit card, rather than the recipient, can do this.
Paid on credit or debit card for any item? Try chargeback
There’s valuable hidden protection on Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards and most debit and charge cards. It’s called ‘chargeback’ and means if you don’t receive the goods you bought, you may be able to get your money back.
Unlike Section 75, this isn’t a legal right, but the Law Commission says card providers will usually honour it when companies go into administration. However as with Section 75 it’s unclear in this case whether card firms will accept at this stage that goods will not be delivered.
For more info on how this works and how to submit a claim, see our Chargeback guide.
Paid via Paypal? Try its protection scheme
If you paid for your order using funds in your Paypal account, you could try its buyer protection scheme to get your money back.
If you paid with your credit or debit card via Paypal, you should be able to try either chargeback OR the Paypal protection scheme (you won’t be able to get your money back from both).
What do House of Fraser and Sports Direct say?
We’ve asked both House of Fraser and Sports Direct a long list of questions, and have had little response. A House of Fraser spokesperson has told us that all media queries are now being handled by Sports Direct, and we haven’t had any response to our questions from Sports Direct.
However a statement posted on House of Fraser’s website before it was taken down gave limited information on gift cards. It said: “The business was purchased out of administration for a cash consideration. As a result of this process Sports Direct has no liability to customers in possession of existing gift cards and vouchers.
“However we encourage these customers in possession of gift cards and vouchers to send them into the House of Fraser head office at Gift Cards, 27 Baker Street, London, W1U 8AH, whereby replacements will be issued.”