Complaints made about furniture firm as mystery surrounds future of the business
Complaints have been made about furniture maker Alan Ward as mystery continues to surround the future of the business.
Shropshire Council’s Trading Standards service has received 12 complaints from customers who claim to have been left out of pocket by the Shrewsbury-based company.
Alan Ward has stores in Shrewsbury, Chester, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Winsford, but despite non-essential stores being able to open from last month, they have remained closed and customers claim they have been left in the dark regarding their orders.
A former employee who did not wish to be named said the company had gone into liquidation and that staff from all stores and the distribution centre have been made redundant.
The Shropshire Star has also been unable to get hold of anyone from the company. But according to the Companies House website, the business is still classed as 'active'.
One customer said: "We are out of pocket by £2,755. No one is responding to our emails and the showrooms remain closed."
Another one said: "All their phones seem to be cut off now. We customers need to know what is going on."
"We placed an order on March 11 and paid, but they will not answer any calls or emails," another customer added.
A statement by Shropshire Council said: "Shropshire Council’s Trading Standards service has received 12 complaints logged via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service since June 1.
"The complaints relate to civil matters upon which Citizens Advice will have advised consumers as to their legal rights; however, they are not criminal matters and hence Trading Standards has not investigated any of the reports and is unable to verify the accuracy or otherwise of the details provided.
"No information has been provided to us by the business and, as a result, we are unable to confirm the current trading status."
The company was formed in 1970, when Alan and Joan Hopkins opened their first store – a small carpet shop in Golden Cross Passage, Shrewsbury – with the help of a £500 bank loan.
The company outgrew its premises and moved to an out-of-town location in Harlescott in 1983.
In the 1990s it expanded and opened stores in Chester, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Winsford.
It is believed the company employed about 50 people in Shrewsbury.
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