I ordered a watch online with personalised engraving for my partner’s upcoming 40th birthday.  The company has since gone out of business.  I keep phoning and emailing them but can’t get through to anyone.  I’m assuming they can’t fulfil my order, but I’d paid for the watch upfront and can’t afford to buy another gift until I get my money back, please help? 

I understand the frustration you must be feeling – especially as you’ve already parted with your money and presumably spent time searching for a suitable gift for your partner’s special birthday.  I assume you haven’t had a dispatch note yet, which suggests the order isn’t on its way.  If the company’s gone into administration, it may still be able to fulfil outstanding orders, but if the company is already in liquidation, you’ll need to try to get your money back.  If you’re unsure about what state the company is in, the Citizens Advice website has information on how to find out. 

esponded to your calls or emails, is there a shop or office you can visit or write to, to get an update on your order, or request a refund?  If that isn’t possible, the next steps depend on whether it’s a limited company (it will have ltd or plc after its title) or if it’s a sole trader (someone who runs their own business) or partnership. 

If it’s a limited company, you’ll need to get details of the administrator or receiver – the person dealing with settling the trader’s debts.  The names of those administrators will usually be on the website of the company that’s gone bust. You should register your claim as a creditor on the GOV.UK website.  Fill out the form with details of what you’re owed and send it to the administrator dealing with the trader’s debts. Unfortunately, there’s only a small chance you’ll receive any money back because you’ll be last in a long list of creditors who need to be paid.  As the order was online (and I’m therefore assuming you paid by debit or credit card) you could also try getting your money back with a Section 75 claim or a chargeback claim to your card provider or bank.  Full details about both these types of claims can be found on the Citizens Advice website. 

If the seller was a sole trader or partnership and not a limited company, pursuing a Section 75 or chargeback claim is your best option.  Every case is different when traders go under, but you can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline to find out exactly what your rights are: 0808 223 1133 and visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/somethings-gone-wrong-with-a-purchase/if-a company-stops-trading-or-goes-out-of-business

The Friends of Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham

This is a registered charity who raise money to help fund the free advice service provided to the residents of Edenbridge and Westerham and surrounding parishes.  This is particularly important these days when funding is being reduced and all our costs are going up.

There are four ways you can support the Friends:

Join our ‘100 club’ – buy shares at £5 per share payable monthly.  Minimum quarterly prizes range from £25 to £100 with prizes at Christmas from £75 to £250.

Personal donation – you will receive a certificate acknowledging your generosity.  Each £1 of your donation can be increased by 25% through Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer.

Corporate donation – you will receive a certificate acknowledging your company’s support and have your company’s name displayed on our donor’s board.  Your donation can be claimed as relief against UK corporation tax.

Become a member – pay an annual membership of £10 per year or £15 for couples and receive a quarterly newsletter with news of progress and events to attend.

If you can help, please email friends.ewcitizensadvice@gmail.com or call in to the Eden Centre, Four Elms Road for more information.