Mother claims victory in battle for Farepak funds

Suzy Hall
Suzy Hall
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A MUM has today told of her pride after claiming victory in her fight to win justice for victims of the collapse of Christmas savings firm Farepak.

Suzy Hall, from Morningside, was distraught when she became one of 114,000 people in the UK, including 25,000 in Scotland, to lose their Christmas savings when Farepak collapsed in 2006.

She joined victims’ group Unfarepak and quickly became its national coordinator and the face of a high-profile media campaign.

She said she was “delighted” after it emerged yesterday that former customers would 
receive half of the money they lost, as Farepak’s liquidation ended.

“It’s been a long, hard slog,” she said. “To receive 50p back in the pound is unheard of from a liquidation. It feels fantastic.”

Ms Hall, 41, acted as an agent for Farepak, and would collect money from members of her family and friends over the course of a year which she passed on to the company.

Farepak customers would then receive vouchers towards the end of the year to buy Christmas presents and shopping.

But in October 2006, it was announced suddenly that the company had collapsed, costing savers £37 million.

“It was horrific,” said Ms Hall, who was an agent for her parents, brother and neighbour. “You somehow felt you were responsible because you were collecting the money, but I stopped being a victim and became proactive.”

The single mother-of-two made a series of TV appearances, wrote for newspapers and attended a royal garden party as she was dubbed “Scotland’s Erin Brockovich”.

Unfarepak will now focus on helping campaigners who are trying to recover funds for creditors who lost money in the collapse of Crown Currency 
Exchange Ltd.

Liquidator BDO said yesterday that it will make dividend payments to Farepak’s creditors, including customers and agents, at the end of next month.

A payment of about 32p in the pound will be made, which adds to the 17.5p in the pound given by the Farepak Response Fund charity, set up by the government in 2006.

The 32p payment included the £8m which Lloyds Banking Group announced it was making available to former Farepak customers last week.

Mum-of-three Trish Nicol, 46, of Livingston, another former Farepak agent, said: “I’ve got mixed feelings. It’s good we are getting some money back but, at the same time, Bob Diamond is getting his millions. Why aren’t we getting what we are due?

“Nothing will repay the damage we felt that Christmas.”