Customers have be left bemused and angry, after paying for designer furniture that has not arrived. Infurn.com sells designer furniture and replicas worth hundreds of pounds, but a report reveals that many customers have handed over their money and received nothing in return.
What makes things even worse is that the store has finally gone bust. So what can you do if a store doesn't deliver?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Furniture News reported that the site was still up and running, and in fact is holding a 30% sale. However, there are very troubling reports from customers.
Trustpilot.co.uk features angry reviews from customers across Europe. Customers had faced repeated delays on deliveries - despite having paid in advance for furniture. Some had waited for more than year. In many cases after lengthy delays, customers had cancelled and been promised a refund within 30 days. However the money was never returned.
One customer in Denmark was so angered by his experiences he set up a site called stopinfurn.com to warn potential costumers of the problems he had faced. He warns that the terms and conditions state delivery in 18 weeks, but that they reserve the right to delay it, and they have no requirement to tell you about delays - you have to log onto the website to check. He points out that you have the right to cancel, but that refunds are not forthcoming.
The Guardian spoke to a security guard at the firm's London offices, who said that they moved out at the beginning of this month, and that he had seen several angry customers trying to visit the offices to find out where their furniture was.
Unfortunately for customers, the company is now going through the insolvency process. They are holding a meeting of creditors on 23 May - which will establish who the company owes money to. The process will then examine the assets and debts of the firm, and ascertain whether any customers who are waiting for refunds will receive them.
In the interim the phone lines are dead and emails are going unanswered.
What can you do?
If you paid by credit card then you have a huge advantage, because Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act your card provider is jointly liable for delivering the goods, so you can contact your card provider for a refund, and it will be their responsibility to chase the retailer.
If you paid for it on a debit card, then you may be able to get your money back through the chargeback scheme. There is a 120-day limit on claims which starts "the day you are aware of a problem" - which means the day you were made aware that you weren't going to get the goods. You need to put a claim into your bank rather than Visa or Mastercard.
One worrying quirk of this site is that it also accepts bank transfers. Customers who paid this way will have no recourse to any refund, except by registering as a creditor and hoping there is something left at the end of the insolvency process.
10 consumer rights you should know
Angry customers out of pocket as Infurn.com fails to deliver
The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.
This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.
Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".
Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.
If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.
If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.
After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.
The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).
Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.
Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.
Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.
You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.
The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.
If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.
The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.
Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.
They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.
What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.
You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.
Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.
They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.
In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.
Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.
You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.
You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.
We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.
In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.
Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.