Entertainment chain HMV has announced it is to go into administration.
The music and DVD retailer, which boasts some 250 stores, is expected to call in administrators from Deloitte today.
The firm said it would not be accepting gift vouchers or issuing any more. The move is likely to frustrate many who received vouchers as Christmas gifts.
But what are your rights when a retailer goes into administration, and is there a way to get back your money if you have HMV vouchers? Find out with our Q&A guide:
I have HMV vouchers – what are my options?
If your vouchers are refused by HMV you can make a claim in writing to the administrators with proof of your vouchers, consumer campaigning body Which? explains.
In this case it would be Deloitte. However, the company has not yet officially been called in.
There’s no guarantee you'll get all of your money back, Which? says, and it could take up to 12 months to process the claim. Plus, not all administrators will take this approach.
Find out how to write a letter to claim a refund for vouchers from a bust company here.
If vouchers were bought for you as a gift, your options are limited. The person who received a HMV voucher as a gift can't make a claim, but the person who bought the vouchers could put in a chargeback request to the bank. See below for more details.
I bought vouchers on my card – does this change things?
Which? says if you bought HMV vouchers on your card you should be able to put in a chargeback request to your bank on the grounds the vouchers are fundamentally different to what you paid for.
This is because you expected to be able to exchange them for goods of a certain value and instead they are worthless.
However, there’s no guarantee administrators will accept these claims.
If you've bought something on your credit card costing more than £100, the card provider is jointly responsible for any breaches of contract. For example, you could ask for a refund if the things you bought weren't delivered, or you could claim for the cost of a repair if they were faulty.
But this only applies if you spent more than £100 in one transaction, Citizens Advice explains. The vouchers don't need to be worth £100 alone - if you bought £30 of vouchers and £70 of CDs in one transaction you would be covered.
Write to your credit card company with details of your claim. Find out how to claim a refund from your credit card company if a retailer has gone bust here.
If you paid by debit card you may be able to claim through the MasterCard and Visa chargeback scheme, as long as it hasn’t been more than 120 days since paying on your debit card and making your claim.
To find out more, click here.
You can still claim if you’ve only paid a deposit on your credit card, Which? explains.
The card company is liable even if you made only part of the payment on your card.
According to the consumer body: “It's the value of the goods you're buying that is key - not the amount paid on the card. As long as you paid more than £100 on your credit card then you can claim.
“So, for example, if you ordered a new camera and paid a £500 deposit with your credit card and paid the balance of £1,000 by cheque, you'd be covered for the whole £1,500 if the company went out of business and you didn't get your camera.”
Can I return items I’ve bought at HMV?
This, Which? explains, is a grey area. The administrator's role is to try and save the company and in doing so it may take the decision not to accept returns.
However, if you bought an item which comes with a warranty and it’s faulty, you should be able to claim a refund or repair from the manufacturer under the terms of the warranty.
If the goods are faulty, your manufacturer's warranty should cover you for at least the first year. Check your documentation.
If you’ve been supplied with faulty goods and the company is placed into administration but is still trading, you may be able to get a replacement or a refund for your item in the usual way under the Sale of Goods Act.
Find out more about the Act here.
If you bought an extended warranty from HMV, check your documentation to see who actually provides the cover. It it’s provided by a third party, such as an insurance company, you shouldn’t be affected if HMV does cease trading.
If cover was provided by HMV, it depends on what happens at the end of the administration. If HMV ceased to trade you would lose the benefit of the extended warranty.
Find out more about extended warranties here.