Customers angry at company's huge debt

Hundreds of angry customers are out of pocket after a conservatory company went into liquidation owing almost £2m.

Long-established Richards Glaziers Limited, went into liquidation on July 15, and customers across Cheshire are left with incomplete conservatories after paying thousands of pounds in deposits.According to Chester liquidators, Parkin S.Booth & Co, £1,842,000 is owed to staff, banks, suppliers, Government departments, contractors and hundreds of deposit creditors who ordered a conservatory and paid a deposit.

Liquidator John Moran said customers have two avenues to take to recover their financial loss.

'We have written to the people who have lost their deposit and we have suggested if they paid by credit card there is deposit protection,' he said.

'We have also written to customers separately and said our letter to them should be proof for the federation to support the customer's claims.'

Customers who paid cash deposits have been told their money will only be refunded through credit vouchers and in some cases they may not recover the full amount.

Philip and Laura Kwissa from Eaton Road, Tarporley, paid a £3,500 cash deposit to Richards last March, and were promised their conservatory would be completed within 12 weeks - but the job was never started and they have been unable to use their living room for the last five months.

Locksmith Mr Kwissa and his wife are currently using the play room of their two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter as a living room because the plaster was ripped out of their lounge in preparation for work.

Mr Kwissa grew concerned that no progress was being made and contacted Richards management on numerous occasions, but despite promises the job would be done, nothing was actioned.

Mr and Mrs Kwissa must now claim their money back through credit vouch-ers from The Glass and Glazing Federation and they may not get the full amount refunded. 'It's thrown us completely,' said Mr Kwissa.

'We chose Richards because they had been established for 25 years, but we later found out the company was sold on and the new managers had only been running the business for a year.'

'It's outrageous, people like that shouldn't be in business, it's been a real upheaval and it's not fair on our children because we are having to use their play room. I'm not sure how much this will all cost me in the end.

We can't afford a new conservatory this year so we will have to pay out of our own pockets for patio doors to be put on instead and for the room to be replastered when it was a perfectly good room to start with - we won't be able to use the room all summer.

'If the company had spoken to me and told me there was a problem, I could have gone to somebody else months ago.

'Although we're not on the bread-line, it has cost us unnecessary expense and it has been hard and stressful, especially for my wife,' Mr Kwissa added.

Frank and Barbara Rimington, from Huxley Lane, Huxley, also signed an order for a £16,000 conservatory in March, which was never started.

Semi-retired Mr Rimington and his retired wife were looking forward to relaxing in their new conservatory this summer, as the finishing touch to their bungalow, but they now have to wait for it to be completed by another conservatory company, paid for through credit vouchers from the Glass and Glazing Federation.

Mr Rimington, 63, didn't get his cash fully refunded through the vouchers and will be left £1,300 out of pocket.

'I didn't have a good experience with Richards, they always had all sorts of excuses and fairy stories,' he said.

'We feel let down and we are not happy because five months of our time has been wasted.

'The managers were new people trading on the superb reputation and integrity of Mr Richards and we signed up under the impression that he was still the manager.

'In one way Richards did us a good turn and the company who we are now dealing with is far superior.'

600450 Customers angry at company's huge debt
Date: 2 August 2004

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