World of Fur­ni­ture cus­tomers urged to come for­ward

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RACHEL MARTIN

ONLY 12 cus­tomers at a failed North­ern Ire­land fur­ni­ture com­pany have come for­ward so far to tell the Of­fi­cial Re­ceiver they are owed money, the Belfast Tele­graph can re­veal.

It’s un­der­stood in­ves­ti­ga­tions into World of Fur­ni­ture, which in­clude at­tempts to es­tab­lish the value of all its as­sets and debts, are tak­ing place af­ter it was wound up over un­paid rates.

Wil­son’s Auc­tions is ex­pected to han­dle the sale of some of the firm’s as­sets af­ter World of Fur­ni­ture shops in Belfast and Lon­don­derry were closed last month. But Wil­son’s would not say when any auc­tion would take place.

World of Fur­ni­ture left cus­tomers out of pocket when the firm’s two stores shut down.

Many said or­ders had not been de­liv­ered and they were asked to pay in cash be­cause they were told the firm’s credit card ma­chine was not work­ing.

Sev­eral have con­tacted the Belfast Tele­graph to say they are owed hun­dreds of pounds.

A spokesman for the De­part­ment for the Econ­omy said a de­ci­sion would be made on whether or not to ap­point an ex­ter­nal in­sol­vency prac­ti­tioner to deal with the com­pany’s af­fairs. “Once that de­ci­sion has been taken, it is likely an auc­tion will take place as quickly as pos­si­ble. Un­til the auc­tion takes place, it is not pos­si­ble to say how much money will be avail­able to dis­trib­ute to cred­i­tors,” he said.

“The wind­ing up of the com­pany was pe­ti­tioned by Land and Prop­erty Ser­vices and, to date, around 12 cus­tomers have been iden­ti­fied. There is no dead­line for cus­tomers to come for­ward, but any that are af­fected should con­tact the Of­fi­cial Re­ceiver as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

The spokesman added that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion would in­clude iden­ti­fy­ing any po­ten­tial mis­con­duct by the com­pany’s direc­tors as a mat­ter of rou­tine.

“The Of­fi­cial Re­ceiver, and all pri­vate sec­tor in­sol­vency practi- tion­ers, are rou­tinely re­quired to pro­vide a re­port to the de­part­ment’s direc­tors dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion unit (DDU), fol­low­ing all cred­i­tors vol­un­tary liq­ui­da­tions and com­pul­sory wind­ing up made by the court,” he said.

Sev­eral ri­val firms, in­clud­ing Har­vey Nor­man and EZ Liv­ing, of­fered to hon­our cus­tomers’ de­posits as store credit.

Gerard O’han­lon, who was a di­rec­tor of the fur­ni­ture shop, last month ex­pressed re­gret at the cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the fail­ure of the com­pany.

Hopes of trad­ing well over Jan­uary did not ma­te­ri­alise.

“We are very sorry that this has hap­pened, it’s the last thing we wanted but it be­came ob­vi­ous that we couldn’t sus­tain the com­pany,” he said.

World of Fur­ni­ture closed its doors here at the end of last month

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