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RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

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Failing Firms

In 2010 artist Tom Walsh thought he had found the answer to his prayers when he saw an ad in the paper for log cabins. Tom had been working out of his garden shed, and the 7x10m cabin seemed like an ideal solution. The price of the cabin was ¤25,500 and Tom was asked for a third of the price upfront. In May 2010 Tom sent the company - Botanic Garden Products Ltd, which traded as Botanic Living - a bank draft for ¤8,500. But days later Tom had second thoughts and says he rang to cancel the order. He was told by the company that they would send him back his cheque, minus a few hundred euro. Tom's cheque never arrived.

When Tom sent a solicitor's letter to Botanic Garden Products demanding the return of his money, he was told the money had already been sent to the cabin manufacturer in eastern Europe, but that the money would be refunded to him once repaid by the manufacturer within a couple of weeks. The matter dragged on for months and in September Botanic Garden Products went into liquidation.

In February 2011 Tom received word from the company's liquidator that there were no funds in the company. Tom's money was gone.

Eddie Hobbs has this advice for consumers:

  • Always pay by Credit Card - this way the credit card company can recall your money if the transaction is not refunded.
  • To do a company check, visit www.cro.ie
  • Alternatively ask your local accountant to do a search on the company's financial status.

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