Clerys still selling vouchers on website despite closure
Department store’s website allows purchase of gift cards that will not be honoured
Clerys department store on O’Connell Street, Dublin. The Clerys website continues to sell vouchers despite the store’s sudden closure on Friday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Clerys department store, which went into liquidation and closed suddenly late on Friday, is still selling vouchers with values up to €100 on its website, even though customers with gift cards have no hope of recovering any money or goods.
On Sunday The Irish Times was able to purchase a Clerys gift card with the minimum value of €15 on the clerys.ie website using a credit card.
There is no information on the website to indicate the store has ceased trading or that vouchers will not be honoured.
The terms and conditions on the website indicate the store will ship orders by courier to countries in the EU as well as the US and Canada.
Clerys, which has been on Dublin’s O’Connell Street for 162 years, does not appear to sell other goods via its website. The site continues to advertise the store’s summer sale and special offers, as well as the tea room, beauty services and hundreds of fashion brands.
Clerys was accepting large cash deposits for household goods just days before the closure, with some reports suggesting a customer had handed over in the region of €5,000 last week.
Some 130 staff and 330 people working for the 50 concession holders at the O’Connell Street shop lost their jobs as a result of the store closure on Friday.
Chief executive of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) Dermott Jewell said the situation for those who had paid deposits or who still had Clerys vouchers was “extremely difficult”. There was no provision under law to help consumers deal with the fallout when a retailer went into liquidation.
“The only real hope would be if they had paid by credit card. Section 14 of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act does give them a good degree of support and strength.
“It places an equal liability to resolve the problem on the retailer and the credit card company, so they should get in touch with their credit card company immediately.”
Mr Jewell said while there was no current place for such a provision in law, the CAI would ask that the liquidator consider making preferential creditors of the few customers who still held credit notes or who had handed over deposits.
“They should put them in the ranking with the top of the league on this occasion,” Mr Jewell said. “Failing that, because it is long past time where it was done, we are asking the retail sector to consider putting some kind of a fund together to help those consumers who supported Irish business and are now at the losing end of it.”
Early on Friday Clerys’s US owners Gordon Brothers sold the business to a joint venture called Natrium Ltd, comprising Irish investment group D2 Private and Cheyne Capital Management. The sale price was not disclosed.