It has been an unsteady couple of months as Bathstore becomes the latest bathroom retailer to go into administration, just three months after the collapse of Better Bathrooms.
UPDATE 23 July 2019: DIY chain Homebase has bought Bathstore, rescuing more than 40 of its stores, where it is selling off display stock. Over the next 18 months, Homebase also plans to add Bathstore concessions to its shops.
Bathstore fell into administration on 26 June, putting more than 500 jobs and 135 stores at risk, potentially leaving customers in the lurch.
It is still trading but its future is uncertain. Stores will remain open to sell products and fulfil as many orders as possible, but it’s not offering installation.
Rival chain Better Bathrooms recently closed 13 of its showrooms and two trade counters across the UK. Like Bathstore, it has been running an online-only clearance sale for a number of months after being bought out of administration by Buy It Direct Ltd.
If you have recently bought from Bathstore and are worried about your rights on returns and refunds, read on for the full lowdown.
Find out which bathroom brand tops our league table. The highest got a customer score of 80%, 23 percentage points ahead of the company in last place with 57%.
I’ve recently bought from Bathstore – what can I do?
If you’ve recently bought from Bathstore – whether it’s a full bathroom suite or just a new basin – you should still get your order, but it cannot provide an installation service, even if you have a date scheduled.
When Bathstore first went into administration, is said it would phone customers who have orders outstanding to let them know the situation and attempt to honour as many as possible.
When we heard that Homebase had bought Bathstore, we asked whether that changed anything. Homebase told us (25 July): ‘Homebase will be fulfilling all orders that were purchased during the time Bathstore was in administration.’
You can try to claim the full amount paid for the installation, but you won’t be doing it through Bathstore – see more below.
If you’re part way through an installation from Bathstore, you’ll need to organise for it to be finished by someone else. In these cases, you might be able to get a partial refund, via the methods below.
There are a few different ways in which you can try to make a claim, depending on how you paid:
- Paid less than £100 using a debit or credit card – make your claim under chargeback to your bank. This is where a transaction is effectively reversed.
- More than £100 using a credit card – the card provider is jointly responsible for any breaches of contract, so use Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to claim.
- Paid via PayPal using your credit card – try using Section 75. This won’t apply if you used your debit card through PayPal.
- Paid in cash or by cheque or can’t claim using the above methods – make a claim as an unsecured creditor. You can do this by getting in contact with the Joint Administrators (BSCOM@bdo.co.uk). This can be a lengthy process and will depend on what happens after the administration process.
It’s worth noting that if you have bought from Bathstore and you decide to cancel your order or want to send something back because you’ve changed your mind, you won’t be able to get your money back.
Our full guide explains what to do when a company goes bust.
My installed Bathstore bathroom is faulty – what can I do?
So what happens if your Bathstore products have arrived or have been installed but something is faulty or has gone wrong since? Your rights are protected under the Consumer Rights Act, so you may be able to claim this way.
But what you can claim for depends on the length of time since purchase of the faulty product. Our full guide on the Consumer Rights Act gives a detailed breakdown.
It’s likely that you’ll need to make the claim as an unsecured creditor to the administrators. Do so in writing as soon as possible, giving full details.
If you took out a warranty and guarantee when you purchased your bathroom, look at the terms of these to see if you could claim for a refund, replacement or repair.
These are usually with the manufacturer rather than retailer, and are sometimes provided by a third party (eg an insurance company). Check the small print carefully to see who actually provided them and what the terms are.
If cover was provided by the retailer, it depends on what happens at the end of the administration period. If it ceases to trade, you would unfortunately lose your right to claim against a fault.
Homebase confirmed (25 July) that for any warranties on items bought from Bathstore before it went into administration, people will need to deal with the administrator, as opposed to Homebase. For more information on guarantees and warranties read our full guide.
Bathroom reviews to help you find the best
If you’re looking to buy a new bathroom, head to our specialist bathroom guides for bathroom ideas, popular bathroom brands rated and advice on bathroom installation and planning. Plus, find specific unbiased brand review pages and customer scores for Wickes, Homebase, B&Q, Victoria Plumb and more.