“PayPal and Tesco refused a wedding refund when my florist went bankrupt”
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In January 2020, I purchased a bundle of flowers and decor from a sponsored post I saw on Facebook from Essex based Stacey’s Flowers. It was for my wedding which was scheduled for January 2nd of this year.
I checked out her business and found out that she had her own market store, with photos and reviews from previous weddings, and was registered with Companies House. I thought it was safe to book. She requested payment of the total amount of Â£ 500 by bank transfer or PayPal. I chose PayPal for extra protection and used my credit card for added security.
In the fall of last year, my partner and I made the difficult decision to postpone the wedding due to Covid restrictions and will now hold it in January 2022. We were told we could move our package to the news. dated. On two other occasions I added more items to the package for which I paid Â£ 200 more – both payments being made in the same way as before.
Then, in July, Stacey’s Flowers announced that the company was into liquidation and the owner had appointed an insolvency company. It affected weddings as well as people who ordered flowers for other occasions such as funerals.
I requested a refund from PayPal because I had used their business payment option for additional protection. But that turned me down because I was “out of time” because the arrangement only covers purchases for 180 days, which I had not realized.
I then requested a chargeback from my credit card provider, Tesco Bank, as I would not be receiving the service I paid for with the card. A few weeks ago I heard that he would reimburse me the Â£ 200 for the next two payments, but not for the first larger payment, which he said was overdue.
My complaint was then forwarded to the Section 75 team, but after sending me copies of invoices and screenshots confirming the change in our wedding date, she confirmed that she would not reimburse me. the initial payment of Â£ 500. Can you help?
– AG, London
Anyone who has organized a wedding knows that reservations are often made at least a year in advance, with bills sometimes even being paid in full so far in advance to secure certain services.
I am currently planning my eldest daughter’s wedding, with large down payments already made for several streams – including the florist. I therefore understand the risks involved.
In any normal year, it is possible for a florist, venue, caterer, photographer or clothing store to go bankrupt, leaving couples in dire straits.
But over the past 18 months, the pandemic has put many bride and groom, like you and your partner, under additional stress, with marriages canceled, downsized, or rearranged.
Stacey’s Flowers is one of the companies that did not survive the storm. The Basildon-based public limited company has chosen to go into voluntary liquidation – after only 17 months of activity. In a statement to RG Insolvency, the liquidators appointed to liquidate the company, owner Stacey Sargeant blamed the pandemic and her own ill health for forcing the business to shut down.
RG Insolvency told me he could not discuss the case, which is still under investigation, or comment on the whereabouts of Â£ 222,485 owed to 450 clients. But financial statements also show the company only has Â£ 3,600 in the bank.
Unfortunately, when a limited company goes bankrupt, ordinary consumers are usually the last to get compensation, with other creditors such as business customers and banks ahead of them in the queue. It may be more fruitful to try other ways to get money back when the going gets tough, including:
- Chargeback. This is a voluntary program offered by banks and card issuers when a merchant refuses or is unable to make a refund on a card payment because they have gone out of business. The card issuer reimburses them and then sues the provider’s bank for the money. As you have discovered, there are deadlines. The usual deadline for a claim is 120 days from the date of payment. But when it comes to purchases to be delivered in the future, like concert tickets, flights – or wedding flowers – the limit is 540 days.
- Article 75 of the Consumer Credit Law. Where a complaint relates to a purchase between Â£ 100 and Â£ 30,000 made by credit card, the card company is jointly responsible with the retailer in the event of a problem. There is no set time limit for making a claim, although it is unlikely to be considered if left for more than six years.