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Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly
Tom Thewlis

Is it safe to buy from Wiggle as liquidation nears?

Wiggle logo on a green background.

It is still safe to buy from Wiggle, despite the announcement that liquidators have been officially appointed for the stricken retail giant, according to a consumer law expert.

However, given the uncertainty around the future of the company, Lisa Webb from Which? told Cycling Weekly that it’s best to only purchase products that you’ve used before and were satisfied with for as long as the business's website is live and operating. 

Webb explained that buying a product that you’re not sure if you will keep or not could be a risk, as once the business has been liquidated you will not be able to receive a refund or return it. 

"What I would also say is buy things that you know you're not going to send back," she said. "So say, for example, there's a pair of bib shorts that you always get, and they're the same size and you know that they're the size that you're always buying, you're not going to need to try them and send them back for another day, there right for you, get that kind of stuff.”

She added: "Or water bottles that you use all the time, something like that, rather than something that you might need to try on and send back. 

"Because what happens is if you get stuff that you try on and decide you don't like and want to send back but the liquidation happens between those two periods, then the sending back is just not going to happen. 

"Once the company is in liquidation, they're not going to accept returns, they're not going to accept refunds."

Wiggle initially entered administration last October and has endured a turbulent few months since. In that time, mass redundancies were made at the firm as Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group circled as a potential buyer

Frasers Group eventually emerged as the buyer and purchased the brand and intellectual property for under £10m - which some inside the industry said “made sense” due to the retail behemoth’s previous business practices - nevertheless, Wiggle’s predicament still remains largely unclear

Spend vouchers "without delay"

(Image credit: Wiggle/Chain Reaction/Hotlines)

As a result of the current situation, Webb also encouraged Wiggle customers in possession of gift vouchers to spend them without delay.

"My top bit of advice for anyone on this is that if you have got Wiggle vouchers, just spend them, spend them immediately," she explained. "If there is any whisper, any sort of suggestion that they might stop trading, use the vouchers now, because as soon as that liquidation is announced, if it's announced, it's almost certain that those vouchers will become totally worthless to you. So vouchers, just get rid of them."

Webb also advised using different payment methods, like a credit card, if you’re still considering purchasing a more expensive item from the retailer in the coming days due to the additional buyer protection that alternative methods would provide. 

Buying goods with a credit card always offers some piece of mind.

This is because under the Consumer Credit Act - section 75 to be specific - anything bought over £100 and under £30,000 is covered by purchase protection. 

However, in order to be covered, an item has to be over £100, not the overall total you've spent at a retailer; so a basket full of cheap clothing might not be refunded in the same way a bike might be.

Credit cards and alternative payment methods

"I would say, if you're going for a bike for instance, most bikes are going to be over 100 quid," Webb explained. "So you can look at your section 75 agreement. So the other thing in relation to that is that I'm pretty sure Wiggle accepts PayPal as well so, don't forget that PayPal has Buyer Protection too.

"So if you're buying something through PayPal, and it doesn't turn up, then your buyer protection should kick in that way. So things like using a credit card, or PayPal with buyer protection, those sorts of things might make you feel a bit more confident and secure and able to actually splash out on those things."

"But always have a look at what the buyer protection covers on PayPal," she added. 

"And my advice for anyone if you're buying online and you're not certain that the company is going to still be trading in a week's time they just don't go spending money on something unless you're certain you want to keep it because if the company ceases trading, you're stuck with the item."

Webb’s advice around using credit cards is also echoed by Money Saving Expert on the administration help section of their website.

Purchasing items with a credit card means that you can get your money back from the card firm should Wiggle's situation develop.

"If what you purchased cost more than £100 (ie, £100.01+), and you paid all, or even just the deposit, by credit card, then your credit card company is as equally liable (as the retailer) under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act," Money Saving Expert’s advice reads.

"That means whatever rights you had with the retailer/company, you have with the credit card company, so you can get your money back from the card firm,” it continues. 

"This is a legal protection that credit card companies have no choice about – when you spend on a credit card, you're entering into an arrangement to borrow (even if you pay off in full), so you get these rights."

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