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Unfairpak Forum - How Farepak Stole Christmas • View topic - Telegraph (merged)

Unfairpak Forum - How Farepak Stole Christmas

On Friday 13th Oct 2006 - Farepak Hampers went into administration. Over 100,000 customers were told that no food hampers or vouchers or other goods will be supplied this Christmas as promised, and no refunds! Share your thoughts here...
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 Post subject: Sunday Telegraph
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:07 am 
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Several of us from this forum will by now have spoken to the reporter from the Sunday Telegraph. A report should appear in this Sunday's edition in the Business section highlighting several cases across the UK so look out for that.

Karen


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:09 am 
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Well here is the article's that Karen mentioned; 3 in total and a very good one into whats happened with Farepak and a mention of unfairpak.co.uk with a link to the site on the telegraph website!

Outrage grows over directors' role in Farepak failure

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.j ... repk29.xml

The Farepak fiasco nightmare

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.j ... repk29.xml

Christmas looks bleak for those who have lost savings

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.j ... epk129.xml


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:13 am 
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Great article, informative, raises questions about the role of the bank and also mentions this website - fantastic!


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Excellent work! Pleased it mention s the banks role in this whole mess.I think its time they started to realise that they need to do something positive, because we are not going to go away and we will drag their name where ever we go untill we get answers.

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Thanks Karen :oops:


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 Post subject: telegraph
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 Post subject: BELFASTTELEGRAPGH
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:08 pm 
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That's one of the best articles I've read - Suzy, you've been busy, you must've really been clocking up the interviews - keep it up!


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 Post subject: belfast telegraph
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Excellent article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main ... inion.html

And I Quote :
Stony-hearted isn't a hard enough word. All Farepak had to do for its £150 million a year was sit in Swindon and wait for the post. It was obvious in June that trouble was brewing. But still the collectors beetled about, banged on doors and gathered up £40 million's worth of weekly instalments (on which Farepak got interest).

The final balance was paid in mid-October. Which is when the liquidators were called in. Hey! Cute move. How sharp are these people?


Kinda sums it up !!





A woman in Wales is agonised about losing her Christmas savings in the Farepak crash. She told the BBC that the entirety of those savings was £300 — a sum so nugatory that it's hard to encompass for anyone who can spend that amount on a birthday dinner for four at Le Caprice (i.e. me). But neither I nor the birthday boy grew up in a Le Caprice-aware household.


Obviously, since we now belong to the shoe-wearing classes, we try to avert our gaze from the misery of lost Argos vouchers. But the Farepak scandal has made for some pretty sentimental moments in our house, as we out-Monty Python each other about our penniless childhoods.


I mentioned the jars full of half-crowns for the gas bill. He capped me: "You had a gas bill? We had a meter in a room-and-kitchen. It was a red-letter day when the gas-man came to empty it — you got fourpence back off every shilling." OK, OK, you win. Hardscrabble Glasgow always beats dignified poverty in England.


My sentimental memory vies with bouts of murderous rage. Farepak customers paid small amounts of money in 45 weekly instalments towards either goods from the Farepak catalogue or vouchers to spend at Woolies and Argos. (Places I avoid now, for historic reasons.) Basically, Farepak was a savings scheme on which the saver made no interest on his (or more usually her — it's mothers and grannies who do Christmas) savings.


Worse, she didn't receive anything like the total saved. As the editor of Money Week, Merryn Somerset Webb, pointed out in a recent article, the goods people bought were worth far less than they paid for them. Your £90 Christmas hamper might contain only £50 worth of festive fayre. Your £150 washer/dryer might end up costing hundreds more. Your £5 Argos voucher actually cost £9.90 to buy in weekly dribbles of 22p. "Little more than legalised theft," she wrote. Exactly.


Everything about Farepak makes me gnash my teeth. It was a neighbourhood thing: we like neighbourhood things. People joined together in companionable groups and paid their weekly monies to a Farepak collector who was well known to them. Lived down the next street, say. Or someone might run a work group and collect from workmates. Or a thrifty granny might be the collector for a loose group of extended family and friends.

Those collectors are in nine kinds of agony right now. Six weeks before Christmas, they should be banging merrily on doors like Good King Wenceslas, handing out vouchers. Or letting everybody know the red-letter date for the Christmas-week hamper. Instead, they're biting their fists (especially the ones who've lost their own money as well). Oh, and about those thrifty grannies: I bet there'll be a fair few who'll be doubly out of pocket. A granny would need to be as stony-hearted as — what? A Farepak director? — not to have covered the odd weekly payment herself for a crisis-hit daughter-in-law.

Stony-hearted isn't a hard enough word. All Farepak had to do for its £150 million a year was sit in Swindon and wait for the post. It was obvious in June that trouble was brewing. But still the collectors beetled about, banged on doors and gathered up £40 million's worth of weekly instalments (on which Farepak got interest).

The final balance was paid in mid-October. Which is when the liquidators were called in. Hey! Cute move. How sharp are these people?

Farepak's web-page is still up online, shouting about "Christmas Hampers, Food Hampers, Drinks, Gifts & High Street Shopping Vouchers for mail order in the UK". But when you press any of these tempting things, a grim and badly written page of typing pops up: "I regret to advise that Martha H. Thompson and Shagun Dubey of BDO Stoy Hayward LLP have been appointed Joint Administrators blah blah, please see below for answers to certain questions you may have." Question 1 is: "Will I get my hampers/vouchers/gifts and if so, when?" Answer: No. Question 2 is: "Will I get my money back and if so when and how much?" A paragraph of flam follows, which translates as: You kidding?

Anne Snelgrove is the Labour MP for South Swindon and Farepak is in her constituency. She attended the adjournment debate on Farepak on Tuesday. It was packed out with Scottish MPs, all doing heartrendingly sentimental versions of "How Farepak stole Christmas from the Decent Poor in my constituency" like so many pub-singers in the Saracen's Heid. Jim Devine (Livingston) called Farepak's chairman Sir Clive Thompson "the 21st-century equivalent of the Sheriff of Nottingham". Buy that man a round.

But Anne Snelgrove (not Scottish) said: "What Farepak did was immoral, but I am interested in whether it was also illegal." She said: "I wish publicly to name the Farepak directors" and promptly did, to cries of Hear-hear-hear.

Finance director and company secretary Stevan Fowler, independent non-executive directors Neil Gillis, Paul Munn and Michael Johns, chief executive William Rollason, executive director Nicholas Gilodi-Johnson, and chairman Sir Clive Thompson, formerly of Rentokil.

Who is, said Snelgrove, "a modern-day Scrooge. He bemoaned a 30p rise in the minimum wage when he was earning more than £2 million a year, he wound up the pension scheme at Rentokil for all but the executives and then walked off with a £690,000 a year pension." She ended up with: "No doubt Sir Clive and the directors will be eating a very big turkey this Christmas and enjoying it." I wonder. If Anne Snelgrove has anything to do with it, he won't. And more power to her elbow.


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