The Farepak collapse

Jackie Southby received �144 from Farepak
Jackie Southby received �144 from Farepak

A MOTHER who lost almost £8,500 after a Christmas saving scheme went bust has finally received compensation following a six-year fight.

Jackie Southby, of Harrow Lane, received a cheque through the post on Friday, but for only £144.23.

She administered saving schemes for herself, her daughter, 90-year-old mother and several elderly friends and lost the money when she sent off money to Farepak, a catalogue firm which sold gifts, food, hampers and vouchers.

Her cheque marks the end of a long battle to get compensation, despite still being left out of pocket by more than £8,000.

Mrs Southby said: “I am happy because at least we got something back. But at the same time I am not happy, as I don’t think we will get any more money back. We were told it would be 15p to every pound we spent, then 32p and then 50p. I am also not happy, due to the fact that it took just over six years to get anything back. I would like to thank everybody, including the Observer, who helped me get the money back, highlighting our plight from the start.”

The cheque came from liquidators BDO, who announced in July that customers would be compensated.

Mrs Southby is one of nearly 120,000 people who lost out after Farepak went bust, owing almost £38 million in total across the UK.

Lisa Cooper, of Harrow Lane, set up saving schemes for herself, members of her family and friends and sent more than £19,000 to Farepak.

Suzanne Lancaster, of Salehurst Gardens, St Leonards, received a cheque for £120.37 on Friday but was not happy at all. She said: “I think it’s rubbish because we all put a lot of money into Farepak. There must be many other people in a much worse position than me. It’s unfair.”

The Government’s Insolvency Service went to the High Court in May to try to get Farepak’s former bosses barred from being company directors but abandoned the case after considering the evidence. High Court judge, Peter Smith, blamed Farepak’s bankers, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), during the hearing. He said executives of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) forced Farepak to keep collecting deposits from savers even when it expected the company to go bust, benefiting HBOS to the tune of £10 million. HBOS, which is now part of Lloyds Banking Group, defended its actions and made an £8 million payment to the Farepak compensation fund.