A MAJOR home improvement brand is set to cease trading after 31 years, affecting thousands of customers.
Windows and doors company Safestyle has collapsed into administration.
The company has a manufacturing site in Wombwell, near Barnsley and 42 sales branches and depots across the country.
Each has now ceased trading as of this afternoon.
The news will come as a blow to customers with outstanding work to be done, as administrators at Interpath Advisory have now confirmed orders won't be fulfilled.
Some may even be left with doors and windows not fully installed as half-way finished work will not be completed.
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Customers will instead need to find alternative businesses to do the work.
Those who have put down a deposit for future work could also be left out of pocket.
Administrators have confirmed around 680 of Safestyle's workers have been made redundant.
Around 70 of the manufacturer's 750 employees will be kept on in the short term to help wind down the business.
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The company, which first opened back in 1992, suspended its shares from trading in London last Friday after it realised that a rescue deal was unlikely to give shareholders any money back.
Later that day it announced it intended to appoint administrators after failing to find a buyer.
Safestyle had struggled after facing several pressures, including skyrocketing inflation and poor consumer confidence, administrators said.
The unseasonably warm weather in September also dented demand for its products, which include PVC windows and guard doors.
Rick Harrison, managing director at Interpath Advisory, said: “These are really challenging times for companies across the home improvement market.
“After seeing strong sales during the Covid lockdown periods, many companies are seeing trading being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and soaring costs.”
He added that its immediate priority is to provide support to those impacted by redundancy.
What does it mean for customers?
Customer orders that have not been delivered will not now be fulfilled.
Administrators are still looking for a buyer for all or parts of the business which could mean that the work is completed under new ownership – but there's not guarantee of that happening,
It means that even if the company is part-way through an installation it will not complete any orders.
Instead customers will need to find an alternative installer, Interpath said.
Anyone who's booked an installation will not have their order fulfilled, even if they have paid a deposit.
Those who haven't put down any cash won't be charged.
Those who have paid a deposit will not get it back from the company and will have to claim the cash back from their bank or credit card company.
If you've put down a deposit via a credit card you should contact your provider and make a claim for the deposit under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
To make a valid claim the goods or service you bought must have cost over £100 and not more than £30,000.
For more information on Section 75, see our handy explainer.
There is separate protection for debit and pre-paid cards called Chargeback.
This allows the card provider to reverse a payment you've made, as long as the card provider agrees that your complaint is legitimate.
Chargeback is not a legal requirement like Section 75, so you’re not guaranteed to get your money back.
You can make a claim through your card issuer.
If a customer paid in cash they will not get the money back and will have to register as a creditor of Safestyle.
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Customers who have had windows fitted but are experiencing a warranty issue should contact the warranty insurance provider, Installsure.
If you've had your windows fitted but are paying for them via a payment plan you should keep making payments as usual, Interpath said.
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