UK: Collapsed Comet able to accept gift cards purchased by members of the public

ELECTRICAL goods giant Comet will now be able to accept gift cards purchased by members of the public after their use was temporarily suspended following the company’s collapse, administrators say.

Neville Kahn, Joint Administrator and restructuring services partner at Deloitte, said: “Following our appointment as administrators to Comet at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon, it was necessary to temporarily suspend the acceptance of gift cards as a means for payment in order to allow the Joint Administrators time to assess the financial position of the company and collate information about the quantity, value and nature of gift cards in circulation.”

Staff at Comet stores across the East Anglian region continue an anxious wait while administrators seek buyers for the chain.

These include 24 staff at Ipswich, 11 at Bury St Edmunds and 20 at Colchester, and a further 61 staff across its Braintree, Chelmsford and Cambridge sites.

Customers and the group’s 6,600 staff have been told it is business as usual amid plans to secure a rescue deal for the firm.

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Administrators said they were launching an “urgent” search for a buyer to protect jobs at the 236-outlet chain.

All Comet stores will remain open and all staff will continue to be paid in the meantime, according to Deloitte.

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Neville Kahn, Nick Edwards and Chris Farrington of Deloitte, the business advisory firm, were appointed joint administrators to Comet, the electrical retailer, on Friday.

They say they intend to fulfil customer orders where the item is currently in stock in the delivery centres. If stock isn’t available, and customers do not receive their order, those that have paid by credit card may be eligible for a refund from their credit card provider. Customers with enquiries about outstanding orders should contact the customer helpline on 0844 800 9595.

“Having now had the opportunity to do so, we are very pleased to inform Comet customers that the company will be able to accept gift cards which have been purchased and paid for in full by members of the public,” said Mr Kahn.

“We are also pleased to announce that the company will be able to accept and honour gift cards issued on behalf of the charity Family Fund.

“At this stage, it is necessary to maintain the temporary suspension on gift cards which have been issued to people on behalf of a corporate customer, for example by insurers, pending clarification from the relevant providers as to whether Comet has received payment in full for these cards.

“We recognise that the temporary suspension of gift cards has caused concern and anxiety to those customers affected. In the short time available since our appointment the Administrators have worked urgently to bring clarity to this matter, while at the same time stabilising the business and seeking a buyer. We are very grateful to customers for their patience in allowing us time to properly assess the situation.”

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