Thousands of victims of failed hamper savings scheme Farepak have been thrown a lifeline after a fund was set up to rescue their Christmas.
Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) has announced it’s donating £2 million to help those hit by the collapse of the Christmas hamper firm. HBOS was the banker for European Home Retail (EHR), the company which owned Farepak.
The bank said: ‘HBOS at all times sought to help its customer through difficult financial circumstances. It is right that the group helps Farepak customers as well at this difficult time.’
Swindon-based Farepak ran a savings scheme in which 150,000 customers had put money aside for vouchers and Christmas hampers. But after the company went under, administrators announced that no orders would be fulfilled.
Several leading retailers have already announced help for families hit by the Farepak collapse. Christmas hamper supplier Park Group announced that it was donating £1 million in high-street shopping vouchers to the fund.
High-street giants Tesco and Marks & Spencer have pledged £250,000 each, while Morrisons is donating £150,000.
Sainsbury’s and John Lewis
Sainsbury’s and John Lewis agreed with Farepak’s administrator that customers who were saving for vouchers from these stores should get 25 per cent of the value of their total savings.
Yesterday, Trade Minister Ian McCartney called on MPs to donate a day’s pay to the new Farepak Response Fund.
The independent Farepak Response Fund has been set up by the Family Fund, a charity which helps families with disabled children.
Joanne Barker, Senior Solicitor at Which? Legal Service, said:’The collapse of Farepak was a very unfortunate situation for the victims because, as unsecured creditors, there is little chance they’ll get any money back from the scheme.
‘Even though in effect Farepak was running a type of savings scheme, as credit wasn’t offered, it wasn’t regulated by the Financial Services Authority. If it had been, they would have had protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.’