Mutual retail & services business The Co-operative Group is the first retailer to offer a trust protecting customers using its Christmas savings scheme, it has been announced today.
Launched today, the scheme was initially set up following the collapse of Christmas savings firm Farepak in 2006 which saw nearly 120,000 people lose an average of £400 each and the trust aims to “set a new benchmark in consumer protection”, according to the retailer.
As part of the new trust, money will be transferred into a trust account which will be managed by an independent trustee who will protect the funds, an enticing offer given the recent spate of high street administrations leaving customers out of pocket.
According to the Co-operative, which has been working with representatives of the Farepak Victims Committee, 12 per cent of consumers are already saving for Christmas 2013 and using saving stamps to easily spread the cost of the season.
Martin Wates, The Co-operative Group CEO, said: “As the UK’s biggest consumer-owned business, and a trusted and responsible community retailer, I’m pleased that we have been able to respond to the Farepak Victims Committee’s request for a trust fund, and I believe this initiative will give our customers extra peace of mind, setting a new standard for other businesses to follow.”
Providing consumer protection is vital within such a fragile economy, believe Deborah Harvey and Louise McDaid, Secretary and Chair of the Farepak Victims Committee.
The pair said: “We are over the moon that this scheme is now ready for launch.
“With the recent collapse of a number of firms and the scandal of the vouchers not being honoured, we feel this launch proves that The Co-operative really have their customers at the very top of their priorities.
“This scheme will protect the consumer and importantly protect the Christmas savings of thousands of hard pressed families.”