Friday 7 September 2018

'This is British justice': Defiant woman marches into House of Fraser store and carries out a SOFA after being told she would lose the money she paid for it when the chain went bust

  • Fiona Boston paid cash for the sofa at the Darlington store before the chain suffered financial woes
  • After being told she would lose the furniture she enlisted the help of her friends 
  • They dismantled the sofa in the store, loaded it onto a van and then transported it to her home
A mother enlisted the help of her strong friends to dismantle a sofa in a House of Fraser store and transport it to her home after being told she would lose cash she paid for it when the chain went bust.  
When the chain collapsed into administration Fiona Boston, 52, claims the delivery date for the 'sofa of her dreams' was continually put back and she received no help from staff.
So Fiona, decided to get 'what was rightfully hers' and marched into the store with a group of friends who helped her take apart the sofa, before walking straight out of the front door with it and loading it into a van.Fiona Boston's friends walking out of the front door of the House of Fraser store with the sofa
Fiona Boston's friends walking out of the front door of the House of Fraser store with the sofa
As soon as the sofa was loaded onto the van, staff from the store surrounded the vehicle
As soon as the sofa was loaded onto the van, staff from the store surrounded the vehicl
Fiona, from Hartburn, County Durham said: 'On July 26 I bought the sofa and chair. I'd had my eye on it for a couple of years, it was a perfect fit for my home.'
'I paid in cash and three days later I went back to buy some extras on my debit card which cost £715.'
Fiona claims the delivery dates for the furniture were continually put back.
She said she visited store on several occasions to ask when the furniture would be delivered and to check whether the sofa was still in store.
She said: 'My husband Alan had an aneurism last year and it's taking him a while to get back to full health, but he'd been sitting on deck chairs at home as we were still waiting. He deserved to be comfortable.
'I kept asking the manager and staff but they were saying everything was out of their hands.'
Fiona sat on the sofa she paid for but was told she would lose after the store went into administration
Fiona and her husband Alan sat on the sofa the mother paid for but was told she would lose after the store went into administration
But then House of Fraser went into administration and Fiona lost her money, along with the sofa.
'They told me I would be put on a list of creditors and to wait to get my money back. I knew that the chances were I wouldn't be getting it back,' Fiona said.
'They even told me I could take finance out on the sofa - but I refused to pay for it twice.'
Fiona decided to take matters into her own hands on September 1.
She said: 'I got some of my family together, some strong lads and a van from Scott Bros in Haverton Hill, and decided to go to the store late in the afternoon when it was quite empty.
'We went up to the second floor, took the sofa apart and walked right out the front door. No one batted an eyelid.'
But as soon as the sofa was loaded onto the van, staff surrounded the vehicle.
'They told me that they'd call the police as it was theft. I said I'd paid for it and had a receipt.'
Fiona, who works as a market trader, drove off but was soon pulled over by the police where she explained what happened.
'I showed him my receipt and that it was rightfully mine.
'He wasn't happy but called his inspector who said it was a civil matter and to let us drive off.
'So we did. It's what you call British justice.'
Fiona and Alan were forced to sit on deck chairs until she was able to collect the sofa
Fiona and Alan were forced to sit on deck chairs until she was able to collect the sofa
Fiona says she is still owed £716 by House of Fraser but her husband Alan, 66, can now relax comfortably on the sofa they'd waited so long for.
MailOnline has contacted House of Fraser management for comment.
House of Fraser's stores in Middlesbrough and Darlington were both under threat when the firm went into administration.
However their new owner, Sports Direct's billionaire founder Mike Ashley, said he would try to keep 80% of the chain's stores open after he bought the company out of administration.
It was announced last week that both stores would remain open. 

Will you get your money back on items paid for if a firm goes into administration?

 If you ordered with a company, and it went into administration before fulfilling it, then whether you get your money back depends on the company's exact situation, and how far along your order's got since it was placed.
Yet nothing's guaranteed, which is why routes such as credit card protection, detailed below, are so important.
If a company's in administration, it means it can't provide your goods or services, and the management's no longer in control. Yet it doesn't necessarily mean it's closed down completely.
The administrator's job's to maximise the value from selling off the company, and if keeping it as a going concern in order to sell it does that, then it'll keep trading. That may mean you can simply get a refund, or you receive the product as normal.
Otherwise, to be in with a chance of getting your cash, you'll have to apply to the administrator, not the company, and any cash left after paying the secured creditors and staff'll be split between everyone who's submitted a claim.
If you need to get a refund through the administrators, don't count on getting all your money back. You may be lucky to get anything. If you do, it's often just a few pence per pound owed. 
Information sourced from 


2014: Sanpower group, owned by Chinese industrialist Yuan Yafei, buys House of Fraser. The new owner announces big plans to grow the business and expand into China by investing £75million in the business.
2015: House of Fraser posts its fifth straight year of statutory losses as the group suffers hefty charges related to its £300million refinancing, which it had used to fund store refurbishment and improve its buy-and-collect service.
2016: Despite Sanpower's big expansion plans, by December of this year only one outlet has opened, in Chinese city of Nanjing.
September 2017: House of Fraser gets its first cash injection from its Chinese owner, who finally pumps in £25million.
May 2017: Chief executive Alex Williamson is brought in. He launches a turnaround effort to overhaul House of Fraser's product range and stores while trimming costs. He says he wants to cut property costs by 30 per cent within five to ten years.
January 2018: The struggling department store says it will close failing stores or reduce the size of others after recording disappointing Christmas sales.
March 2018: Sanpower announces plans to offload 51 per cent of its 89 per cent stake to a mystery Chinese leisure firm called Wuji Wenhua. Meanwhile another suitor appears – Chinese company Fullshare, controlled by billionaire Ji Changqun. However, the company issues a profit warning a fortnight before the deal is expected to be finalised.
April 2018: Accounting giant KPMG is called in to look into possible restructuring plans.
May 2018: The firm draws up proposals for a company voluntary arrangement – an insolvency process that could see it close up to 30 of its 59 stores and negotiate dramatic rent cuts on others. That is the condition to access £70million funding pledged by a second Chinese firm, C.banner, which owns the Hamleys toy shop in London. The Chinese owner of Hamleys, C. Banner, has made access to the funds conditional on a restructuring deal being done.
7 June 2018: The department store goes ahead with the CVA, which will result in the closure of 31 of its 59 stores across the UK and Ireland.

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