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Dan Kerr Brides goes into administration. What you need to know?

On Tuesday 18 April 2017, it was announced that the Dan Kerr bridal boutique, which has stores in Preston and Blackpool, has closed its doors and removed stock from displays as the administrators move in. A representative from the family run bridal shop, which had been running for over 100 years stated that “We have no alternative but to close down” and that “individual letters will be sent to each customer in relation to dresses which have been ordered or paid for”. Consumers are instructed to wait for letters and to contact Leonard Curtis Recovery if they would like further information regarding the operations of the business. However, in the meantime, the below may assist you.

What is administration?

An insolvency firm has been called in to run the company, and obtain as much cash as it can for creditors by selling or utilising its assets. In this case, Dan Kerr has instructed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis Recovery to handle the administration. Leonard Curtis Recovery is likely to collect any assets and try and sell what is can. The cash raised will then be distributed to creditors in order of priority.

Priority of payments following administration

The priority in which creditors are paid is usually as follows:

  1. Secured creditors – E.g. banks – if the company have borrowed money secured on property/assets. According to Companies House, it would appear that Dan Kerr (Brides) Limited have outstanding liabilities to HSBC Bank PLC and Midland Bank PLC.
  2. Insolvency Practitioners – e.g. Leonard Curtis Recovery.
  3. Employees – Redundancy pay and wages
  4. Everyone else – including customers, HMRC and any additional money owed to employees.

Therefore, you will note that customers are low down in the priority list that could make it difficult (though not impossible) to obtain refunds from the bridal shop.

Can you get your money back?

It is our understanding that Dan Kerr have stock and it maybe the case that some of this stock has already been allocated to customers. Therefore, at this stage, there maybe a possibility that your orders have been fulfilled and it may be worth checking with your Dan Kerr/Leonard Curtis representative to what extent your order has or can be fulfilled. It maybe the case that Dan Kerr have entered into an arrangement with another company to meet their outstanding obligations to customers. You should check if this has been the case.

If you have ordered a wedding dress and the order has not been fulfilled as yet, there is no guarantee you will either get your wedding dress or your money back from Dan Kerr.

From what we understand about the situation with Dan Kerr, there is no evidence that the insolvency company will be running the company as a going concern, which means the company has ceased trading. This will complicate things as far as refunds are concerned.

As you will see from the priority list above, whilst it is not impossible, it is unlikely you will get a full refund from the administrators. If you do, it is often a negligible amount.

What are your options?

1.Did you pay by credit card?

If you purchase cost between £100 – £30,000 and you paid either a deposit or the full amount by credit card, then your credit card company is liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Please note, the £100 or more threshold is for a single item. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be protected if you bought say 5 dresses for £90.

The Section 75 protection means that whatever rights you have against Dan Kerr, you now have against your credit card provider. You are advised to contact your credit card company explaining the situation. If you have any receipts for your purchased items, ensure you take a picture/photocopy of these, as you may need to submit these as proof of purchase. Please be advised that your credit card provider may expect you to contact Dan Kerr in the first instance to understand the latest position and obtain confirmation that Dan Kerr are unable to provide you with a refund.

Click here for a template letter to send to your credit card company.

2. Try relying on Chargeback?

If you paid for your wedding dress using either of the following methods:

  • Debit cards – Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron or Mastercard debit card (any amount – even under £100)
  • Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (any amount – even under £100)
  • Credit Cards – Visa, Mastercard or Amex Credit card (Under £100 only. If it’s over £100 use Section 75 (in step 1 above).

You could try using the Chargeback system.

This is a system where your bank gets cash back from the Dan Kerr’s payment processing bank.

However, unlike with credit cards (in step 1 above), this is not a legal protection and operates based on the internal rules of banks. Therefore, you are advised to contact your bank to see whether you can rely on this system.

Please note, you must complain within 120 days of realising there is a problem (not from the date of transaction). If you heard about the Dan Kerr administration on Tuesday 18 April 2017 your 120-day time limit has commenced.

3. Did you pay in cash or by cheque? 

Things get complicated where you have paid using cash or cheque as you will not be able to rely on the protection discussed in step 1 and 2 above. Our advice would be to see how far your order had reached with Dan Kerr and check to see whether your order had been processed.

4. Wedding insurance

If you have taken out wedding insurance, it is worth checking your insurance policy/contacting your insurance company to see whether you are covered in the event of a wedding supplier entering into administration. When contacting your insurance company you should have the following details to hand;

  1. The date of purchase
  2. The amount of purchase
  3. Proof of purchase
  4. The excess on your policy
  5. Your insurance policy
  6. The date you found out about the issue with Dan Kerr
  7. Any correspondence with Dan Kerr.

Should you need any further information, please contact info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

See our online resources for a template Section 75 letter.