Farepak Hampers have, since 1969, provided food hampers and presents at Christmas time to people who made monthly payments.
Last Friday, Farepak Hampers went into administration. The information on their website is that no hampers or gifts will be delivered, and that people will not get their money back, except possibly for a small dividend, and not for some months at the earliest. They were aware of the financial difficulties, but did nothing to warn the people who were continuing to pay in each month.
It sounds like something from a Charles Dickens story, but it is happening now in 2006. This year, thousands of people who have been paying in what they can afford each month to make sure that their families can have a proper Christmas dinner and presents are going to be left with nothing, ending up worse off than if they hadn't planned ahead and saved money for this.
It would be great publicity, and wouldn't cost much by the standards of these things, if a supermarket or catering company would step in and provide hampers for this Christmas for the families affected. And in the longer term, something should be done to change the fact that it is the people with most to lose who are least likely to be compensated when something like this happens.