Woman's anger over fireplace

AN IPSWICH woman who lost hundreds of pounds to a failing fireplace company is unlikely to receive any compensation from the business. Jennifer Pickering, 66, was diagnosed with breast cancer last August.

AN IPSWICH woman who lost hundreds of pounds to a failing fireplace company is unlikely to receive any compensation from the business.

When Jennifer Pickering, 66, was diagnosed with breast cancer last August she decided to treat herself to a new gas fire from Foxhall Fireplace Centre.

Miss Pickering visited the company's showroom in Foxhall Road and picked out a living flame gas fireplace.

She said: “I was still recovering from the radiotherapy and was looking forward to sitting in front of a new fireplace instead of my old coal one.”


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Miss Pickering waited eagerly at her Camden Road home for the delivery of her £379 fireplace - but it never arrived.

After contacting the company, she was told that there was not enough room for her fireplace in the delivery van that day.

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A new delivery date was arranged and this time Foxhall Fireplace Centre managed to find enough space for but it was delivered to the wrong address

Miss Pickering said: “I couldn't believe it. They offered to come round at a later date and fit it for no extra cost but at that point I just wanted my money back.”

Miss Pickering got straight on to her credit card company to cancel the transaction but was told she needed written proof that the fireplace had not been fitted.

She tried to contact Foxhall Fireplace Centre by phone but received no answer. Finally she went back to the store in person but to her horror, found the premises empty.

Miss Pickering has since taken delivery of another fireplace from Countrylife Stoves, Ipswich, but is yet to see the money she spent at Foxhall Fireplace Centre.

An accountancy firm attempted to resurrect the business with the owner, Brian Harvey, but said they were unable to salvage anything.

They did manage to give some hope to other people who may have lost out to Foxhall Fireplace Centre.

A spokesman said: “We have been in contact with several customers who had the same problem. We can reassure customers who made deposits after March 1, 2008 that their money is being held safely.”

Mr Harvey, of Pearce Road, Ipswich said he is still hoping to revive the business.

He said: “We spent a lot of money on setting up the business and advertising but it caught up with us and we had to cut back.

“I was refused a loan from the bank, so I had been trying to secure investment and make changes to the way we worked. I'm not running away to Spain and I don't have stacks of cash under the bed.”

As for Miss Pickering, she is still waiting for her money to be returned and the showroom on Foxhall Road remains unoccupied.

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