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Update: House of Fraser rejecting gift cards – what you need to know

Sports Direct buys House of Fraser, but not liability of gift vouchers

House of Fraser store

UPDATE 24 September 2018: Sports Direct and House of Fraser representative speaks to Which? on House of Fraser gift card replacements and refunds for cancelled online orders.

16 August 2018: The House of Fraser website has been offline since 15 August, so its gift card announcement has not been available to read.

But House of Fraser social media advisers and its customer services are still advising customers in possession of gift cards and vouchers to send them to the House of Fraser head office at Gift Cards, 27 Baker Street, London W1U 8AH.

13 August 2018: Sports Direct announced on the weekend that it has no liability to customers in possession of existing House of Fraser gift cards and vouchers.

Since the announcement, Which? has seen and heard multiple reports on social media of customers not being able to process gift cards online or in store.

House of Fraser social media advisers were pointing people to it’s gift card announcement issued on its website on 11 August, which provides minimal explanation and guidance.

The announcement said Sports Direct has no liability to customers in possession of existing gift cards and vouchers, but advises customers to send off gift cards for replacements.

The statement said: ‘However, we encourage these customers in possession of gift cards and vouchers to send them to the House of Fraser head office at Gift Cards, 27 Baker Street, London W1U 8AH, whereby replacements will be issued.’

How do I return my House of Fraser gift card or voucher?

We contacted House of Fraser and Sports Direct for clarity around sending gift vouchers off to be replaced because we don’t believe its announcement advice offers customers enough information.

It did not address our questions, but sent us the company gift card announcement, which we were asking questions about.

If you want to follow the advice issued by Sports Direct on the House of Fraser website to send your gift card off to its HQ, here are some things you should consider:

  • Take a picture and make a note of your House of Fraser gift card details before you send it off – you might need these as proof if something goes wrong.
  • Make sure you include your name and return address with your gift card or voucher when you send it.
  • Get proof of postage, so that you can take it up with the new Sports Direct administration if it gets lost.
  • Consider paying for recorded or special delivery if you want to ensure it gets there safely, and especially if you’ve got a lot of money tied up in the gift card.
  • Don’t expect to get refunded for the cost of sending your gift voucher – if no one had bought House of Fraser out of administration, you would have had little to no chance of redeeming your voucher at all.

Related: House of Fraser delivery problems – your consumer rights

Are the gift cards available for purchase on the House of Fraser website valid?

We asked House of Fraser and Sports Direct to confirm if the gift cards available for sale on its website on 13 August were covered by the new terms and conditions, which they’re yet to respond to.

When we clicked on the terms and conditions link of the Biba House of Fraser gift card listed for sale on 13 August, we were taken to the company’s gift card announcement.

House of Fraser gift card

This leads us to assume that any gift cards purchased from their website since the announcement over the weekend or on 13 August would also need to go through the process it has announced for all existing gift card holders.

We recommend you don’t buy any House of Fraser gift cards in store or from their website until there is further clarity around their validity for use.

We recommend you wait until the terms and conditions have been updated to reflect the new administration.

When we checked the website on the evening of 13 August, House of Fraser had removed all gift cards from sale on its website.

What happened with House of Fraser?

On 10 August EY (Ernst & Young) was appointed administrator for House of Fraser.

When a company enters administration, your right on returns and exchanges will depend on what the administrator decides to do.

Gift cards and vouchers in an administration situation are usually anywhere from tough to impossible to redeem when this happens.

But as House of Fraser has been bought, it should be business as usual for the parts of House of Fraser that have been bought.

Shortly after House of Fraser went into administration, Sports Direct announced it had purchased the struggling retailer out of administration.

Sports Direct, owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, acquired all of House of Fraser’s UK stores, the House of Fraser brand and all of the associated stock for £90m in cash.

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