MPs demand DTI inquiry into retailer

They made the demand in a Commons motion which expressed concern at the collapse of the Hampshire-based retail chain.

The motion was lead by Labour MP Mark Tami who said Housework’s practice of demanding full payment well in advance of delivery, just prior to their collapse, ‘throws into question their intention to supply the goods in the first place’.

MPs said the DTI should investigate the circumstances of the company’s collapse and called for measures to ensure customers are protected from such sharp practice in future’.

Tami said that when he contacted PwC he was told there were 2,000 creditors and little chance of any substantial payout.

He said the creditors numbered many on lower incomes without credit cards who had paid in cash. He called for the investigation to examine whether the firm were able to supply the goods promised when they took the payments.

He also urged consideration of action to protect customers caught up in such situations in future.

A PwC spokesperson said there little realistic prospect of selling the business as a going concern.

‘It is not a good situation,’ she said.

‘People who used their credit cards will get their money back. But those who paid cash up front are unlikely to be reimbursed or receive the furniture they ordered.’

PwC was appointed joint receiver in June 2001. The company ran into trouble in February.

Before it ran aground, Housework operated out of Fareham in Hampshire and had 28 stores.


PwC online

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