Furniture customers left hanging

COURTS customers in Ipswich are today waiting for news from the crisis-hit furniture chain's administrators over whether they will be refunded money paid for goods they have ordered.

COURTS customers in Ipswich are today waiting for news from the crisis-hit furniture chain's administrators over whether they will be refunded money paid for goods they have ordered.

Customers visiting the store in a bid to uncover answers about their orders were yesterday met with a notice on the doors of the Ranelagh Road, Ipswich, building advising them local staff could not help them.

The store was closed during the afternoon, with security shutters pulled down, but staff could be seen working inside.

One customer who ordered more than £3,500 worth of furniture and paid a £390 deposit on November 21 arrived at the store only to find a notice advising him to phone a customer helpline set up following the news the company was to go into administration.


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"I was reading the paper with my cup of tea and I couldn't believe it," he said.

"All the stuff we want is in stock. I'd pay cash for it if they would give it to me.

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He added: "We've now virtually been told we will lose our deposit."

Another customer had visited the store on Monday evening to buy a child's bed but was told the store was closing early.

She said: "Luckily I didn't put my money down. I might have been the last one that parted with my money.

"I'd come around during the day and was going to buy a bedroom suite for my little girl.

"We were here at six o'clock and they said they were having a meeting and they said it might be sold off today."

A notice on the store's doors said customers would be written to within seven to 10 days but advised them to call its helpline or visit its website in the meantime.

Courts announced on Monday that it was putting its UK business, which operates 98 stores, into administration after talks with its banks aimed at restructuring debts of £280 million collapsed.

The group said in a statement: "Application has been made for the appointment of administrators for Courts plc and Courts UK.

"The board has no current intention of appointing administrators to the overseas businesses, which the board hopes will continue to trade as normal."

A spokesman for the company was not able to say what this would mean for customers with goods on order, as this would be a decision for the administrators.

The Courts helpline number is 0870 9501333.

Weblink: www.courts.co.uk.

Are you a customer affected by Courts' financial difficulties? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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