‘A punch in the guts’ - customers left thousands of pounds out of pocket after Chesterfield's Eyres closure

A number of customers have been left out of pocket after Eyres closed – with some saying they paid deposits for furniture that was never ordered by the store.

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 6:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:06 pm

Steve and Linda Mason placed a 50 per cent deposit for a sofa bed from Eyres in October 2021.

Steve said: “We were told it would be a 25-week lead time due to Covid, which we could accept.

“We were then asked to pay a 50 per cent deposit – we thought that was a bit steep, but bearing in mind that we bought a lot of our other furniture from there, we had no reason not to trust them. We thought no more about it, there was no point in pestering.

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Eyres store Chesterfield.

At the end of February, Steve and Linda returned to Eyres to try and purchase a matching sofa, but were told by staff that no further orders were being processed due to the planned refurbishment of the store. They were, however, reassured that their sofa bed would arrive by the end of March.

Last week, Steve tried to get in touch with Eyres for an update, only to realise that they had closed, and to be told that his order had apparently never been placed.

“Now, at the end of April, I tried to ring through and no one picked up. You get a voicemail saying that they’re closed for refurbishment - you’re asked to leave a message, and told that someone will get back to you.

“I did that every day last week, had no response and began to smell a rat. I went down to look at the store and there was no work commencing, and now you can’t ring through to them.

Eyres closed this month after having traded in the town for 147 years.

“We contacted Ponsford’s in Sheffield and they told us that, towards the end of last year, Alston’s said they would only do things on a proforma basis for Eyres. It would seem that Eyres knew what was happening, and took our 50 per cent deposit, but never placed the order. They just took the money.

“I’m a great believer in trust. I’m coming up to 66 and this is the first time I’ve ever been taken like this. Given that we had always shopped there, it comes as a real punch in the guts.”

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Historic Chesterfield furniture store Eyres ceases trading after 147 years

Steve has reported Eyres to the police, but said he was not optimistic about the possibility of a refund.

Steve and Linda Mason in a room furnished with their earlier purchases from Eyres.

“I’ve reported it to Action Fraud. We can try and have the transaction reversed, but if there’s no Eyres account anymore, or there is no money in the account, you’re going to get nothing.

“It’s £735 of our hard-earned cash. Alongside other frauds, it’s possibly not a lot of money, but as you approach retirement, you’re looking to be able to not work quite so hard – we’re both self-employed so money doesn’t come easy.”

Another customer, who preferred to remain anonymous, had placed on order for a sofa in September.

He said: “Eyres was our number one choice – it was a really good store as far as we knew.

“They told us the sofa would take 14 weeks, and rang me in December to tell us it would be ready on January 10. We even gave our old sofa away to one of our son’s mates, thinking we could handle not having a sofa for two days – they never rang me once to say that it wasn’t ready.

“We had to go into the store, where they traipse you upstairs like little kids, and they told us we couldn’t have our money back as the sofa would have been stitched. They said they couldn’t give us a date for when it would be ready - we phoned again in February and they said it would be done in April.

“I didn’t even know they were closed – on the morning I rang the bank to get my money back, I found out they were shutting. Visa have put the £1000 back into my account, but when they investigate and realise they’re closing, they’ll take it back out.”

He added that he was frustrated after being ‘led on’ by the store over the four-figure sum of money, and was now unable to buy a sofa as planned.

“We have been lied to constantly it seems. We’re really angry after we had stayed faithful to the store when we should have asked for a refund back in February – so much for shopping locally and supporting small business.

“The level of service has been terrible, and you can’t stand losing that sort of money. I can’t afford to buy another sofa as planned – I don’t work anymore, so once my money is gone, it’s gone.

“When I went into store and said we had given our sofa away, she said ‘you shouldn’t have done that’ – we wouldn’t have if they hadn’t said it was nearly ready.

“The worst thing is they’ve led us on, and on, and on, and it seems as though they knew the whole time that we weren’t going to get our sofa – whether the order was even placed, we don’t know.”

Clare Froggatt also purchased furniture from Eyres last year, spending £2,614 on two sofas and a footstool in September.

She, like other customers, suspected that nothing was out of the ordinary at the time. Several months on, Clare said she was told her order had never been processed, and that she was unlikely to recoup any of her money.

“We paid upfront for the goods using my debit card. From the middle of December we called Eyres every two weeks for an update on delivery and kept getting told that there were material supply issues. On order we were told delivery was due for mid-January, but that it might be before Christmas.

“The shop closed for a refurbishment in February but were still taking phone calls – after not hearing anything for a while, my partner went to call them this week, only to get a ‘number not found’ message - that was when we realised they had closed.

“There are two other stores in Mansfield and Worksop of the same name but under different ownership. We have contacted the Mansfield shop and as they use the same suppliers, they have managed to track our order with the sales rep.

“Although it was placed and the initial delivery date of January 15 was given, Eyres of Chesterfield apparently never paid for the order, as they were on proforma, so it was never produced.

“I have personally logged a dispute with my card provider Natwest, however, my purchase was via a debit card, so I don’t hold out much hope in obtaining a refund for my £2614.”

This week the Derbyshire Times reported a letter had been sent to employees, which revealed Eyres of Chesterfield had ceased trading with immediate effect.

In the letter, staff were told that they had been made redundant effective immediately, and that no further payment of wages would be made.

We have made repeated attempts to contact Eyres regarding the situation, but nobody from the store has returned our calls or emails.

Earlier this year, Eyres was rumoured to have closed after signs advertising a closing down sale appeared in the store windows.

In February, an Eyres spokesperson told the Derbyshire Times that they were “temporarily closing for around two months from the middle or end of February” for repairs, and that the store “will be reopening after the refurbishment”.