Deathwatch - Empire Direct In Administration

19 January 2009

On the day when the government tried once again to oil the wheels of business lending, the proposals came too late for Empire Direct, as the Bradford-based company went into administration.

158 of the mainly-online company’s 350 employees have lost their jobs and all 14 of their stores have closed.

Formerly self-styled as the country’s largest independent electrical retailer, their website now houses a brief message from administrator KPMG , stating that Empire Direct are, “unable to trade in administration due to low stock levels and operating losses and accordingly the stores have been closed.”

KPMG added that the company “has been severely affected by the economic downturn and experienced a significant reduction in sales from the middle of last year. In addition, the business really suffered when credit insurers withdrew cover in October.”

Two helpline numbers are also listed – for customers, the number to call is 08714 729000, whereas suppliers should call 08714 729001. Email contact address is [email protected]

TOPICS:   High Street News


  • mick
    My plasma is due to be collected for repair under warranty this Wednesday, what do I do? I'm concerned I may be stuck without my TV or stuck with a faulty TV which is under 18 months old. Do I have a claim with Samsung? or am I up the creek without a paddle?
  • andy y.
    These guys were hailed at the time as the New Briiain.I suppose in a perverse way that's still true.
  • riotsoverfood
    I assume you mean an extended warranty Check who the warranty is actaully with, from memery many of Empire's Warranties are with Domestic and General ,if so you are fine. For the basic warranty make sure it is being collected for repaiir by a samsung agent IF in doubt it's better to hang on to yout TV until the situation is claried
  • Matt
    I bought a Sony Bravia from them in November 2008 specifically as it had a 5yr warranty. I received a receipt from them which mentioned the 5yr warranty, but no other paper work. I wonder if anyone else purchased around the same time and has any information if the warranty is actually worth anything now?
  • Joff
    mick - if you paid by credit card for the warranty (or even the initial purchase) you might want to have a word with them to see if they offer any support.
  • mick
    My Samsung plasma is due to be collected for repair (by a third party courier employed by Empire) under Empire warranty this Wednesday, what do I do? I’m concerned I may be stuck without my TV or stuck with a faulty TV which is under 18 months old.(12 months warranty via manufacturer extended warranty via Empire) Do I have a claim with Samsung (as sale of goods act states 'reasonable lifetime' 6 years I think)? Or am I up the creek without a paddle? Please advise. clarified my position... paid by credit card, no idea who the warranty is with other than Empire.
  • Nish
    I bought a fridge and a dishwasher in November. The fridge was delivered after a week, the dishwasher only arrived last week after chasing them for over a month via email and phone. Their customer service was pants! I bought a 'ED Save' extended warranty card that gives me 3yrs warranty on either item, last I asked the cards havent been printed yet, I'm sure they wont be now. Anyone have one of these or know how I can go about claiming my extended warranty if its from a 3rd party? Thanks
  • mick
    The helpline 08714729000 is listed as 01132351770... might save people a few bob when making enquiries
  • Yaser
    every empire comes to an end . .
  • agentm
    mick - I doubt the third-party agent will be coming to collect your TV. I'm in the same position as you. I purchased a Panasonic TX-32LXD700 LCD TV with 5-year warranty from Empire Direct in January 2008. Last week, I noticed that a backlight bleed was getting progressively worse on the TV, so I contacted Empire Direct to report the fault. An engineer visited me at home last Wednesday, and told me that he'd need to take the TV to Yorkshire Multimedia Services for inspection. I asked if it would be possible to allow me some time to find a temporary TV over the weekend before he took mine, and he agreed. I called the engineer this evening, and he explained that he'd been made redundant. I'm not sure what to do in respect to getting the fault repaired now.
  • phil m.
    sad to see them go. I just hope DSGi and Comet hold on in there.
  • Honky S.
    Overpriced - saw it coming, RIP off Britain
  • Harry
    A year ago, had nothing but problems with their customer services dept after I spent £2500 on a 52" LCD TV. Their Bradford in-store sales team were never polite, even though I wanted to quickly buy loads of kit for my new home, (ended up going to Currys/Comet). Vowed never to go there again, so yeah, I can sort-of see why they went under!
  • OFI
    Overpriced? Thought they were quite reasonable actually. Sad to see another large retailer go. Another mass of unemployed too :-/
  • Trev
    Washer/Dryer due for delivery Saturday 17th , van driver called to say the van had broken down , expect a call Monday. no call by noon, called empire , they would contact the delivery people. no call back by 17:00 , tried to call Empire phones just ringing out.... said to the other half, do a google for empire in the news.. There it was ... end of another British Empire :-( glad I paid by Visa.. they will get the money back hopefully for the ED extra warranty and the Washer. unless Visa goes down too lololol
  • Cam
    Are you going to acknowlede your source on this one? I mean, it was a bitter wallet reader that last night told you to write this story???
  • The B.
    "These guys were hailed at the time as the New Briiain"??? You mean the messiah or just a very naughty boy? Anyways, whilst cheap they had a terrible reputation for customer services and long delays on delivery, I guess if you can't provide the service then this is what happens.
  • Sid
    As a businessman I am not surprised at the demise of Empire Direct. And neither should consumers. A business cannot survive on 'high volume low price' strategy. Businees that run on this model usually end up taking their customers and suppliers and the Her Majestys Government end up paying the price. If consumers keep on wanting lower and lower prices and continue to support online retailers such as Empire we are likely to see more casualties and there will be no genuine or level playing field competition left in the market place resulting in little shopping choices for the consumers and higher prices.
  • Chris
    Sorry for the job losses, but glad to see the back of Empire Direct. Terrible customer service and deserve to fail. I have no sympathy for any of these companies who couldn't move with the times. People followed like sheep to buy things they couldn't afford and companies like this got fat on the back of it. It's all come to a crashing halt and rightly so.
  • Ducky
    Argh, that's terrible.
  • Matt
    Damn, they owe me almost £10 in quidco!
  • Noghar
    They charged me twice for a TV I bought before Christmas. Didn't get confirmation of this till last Friday with the CC statement. Promptly rang them up and the guy on the phone was extremely polite and helpful. Fax us the second invoice, he says, and we'll refund your money. Monday morning I fax em the invoice with a covering letter. Monday afternoon Bitterwallet tells me they've gone bust. Fork! £320 for a 19" LCD! Urg!
  • Mike H.
    Will the Empire Strike back... pffffffffttt
  • Chilliman
    Terrible company, they only have themselves to blame.
  • richard h.
    unbelievable. I worked for EMPIRE DIRECT from their nuneaton branch ,employed as a 7.5 tonne driver up until the 15th of jan this year ,where they made me redundant , now they,ve gone into administration 4 days later, what do i do as they owe me holiday pay +final wage ,does anyone know how to approach this ,i was due the final payment 28th january 09, now they have gone into administration will i ever receive what is due to me .
  • Pete
    Well done Sid, couldn't agree more with your comments. i too am a businessman and trade in the same field as empire but in a specialist market selling to companies. We always hear about the fantastic prices offered by Empire and others but peoples comments all seem to say the service is terrible. When you employee 350 staff plus the other overheads you can't make a few quid profit and expect to pay these and run a profitable company. I'm not the least bit suprised. The biggest name will be next......
  • FormerEmployee
    As a former employee I'd like to offer some suggestions to some of the questions on this forum: - Former employees should receive an information pack from KPMG regarding payments owed i.e wages so I would be adding up the money and holidays you are owed and fill in the claim form when you get it. Also recommend speaking to the Job Centre to sign-on. - Those customers who still have current orders not supplied should be contacted by the administrator in the next week or so who will advise them on where they stand. If you have paid on a credit card then you should also speak to the card provider for advice. Please bear in mind the number of orders there may be - it may be a few days before you hear anything. - I would recommend that unless you have a very urgent query (i.e you have your goods and they are not faulty but just have general queries) then don't attempt to contact the administrator for at least a couple of days. Please appreciate that there is a lot for them to do and there are many existing orders to deal with first. I believe the phone line has already been jammed, avoiding non-urgent calls at this stage will speed the process up for everyone. - Customers concerned about guarantees: Standard 12-month warranties - these are the normal warranties you receive will all products. ALL manufacturers guarantee their products for at least 12 months, some offer 2 or 3 year guarantees as standard. In any case standard warranties should be honoured by the manufacturer who should offer you support when you need it. Helplines should be included in instruction manuals and many manufacturers offer on-line support. ED Extra cards/warranty - when you purchased the membership and warranty this was detailed on your account along with your card number. Check the t's and c's on the paperwork to see if there are details of any company underwriting the guarantee. If in doubt, contact the administrator. Other extended warranties - over the past few months various promotions existed for extended warranties. If you applied for these warranties using a claim form (i.e Panasonic, Bosch) then you have no reason for concern as these will be honoured by the manufactuer (they should have sent details through to you if you sent off the form) who you should call if you require assistance. If you took advantage of one of these promo's but didn't receive a claim form for any reason or the promo didn't involve a claim form then contact either the administrator or the manufacturer for guidance. Anyone with faulty goods already in the possession of Empire to be serviced - contact administrator and give details that are on the repair receipt you should have received. If you haven't got one then they should be able to trace your goods using the original sales number or searching your address details. Anyone booked in for a collection of an item to be serviced but are still in possession of it - keep it! Nobody should call for it but if they do I'd turn them away unless they are from an independant service agent and can give you written confirmation that your goods are genuinely being serviced and will be returned to you. I hope that this information is useful to at least some people! I hop
  • Derk
    Tried to buy a TV on ED website saturday 17th Jan but kept getting fobbed off with web page fault, just thought usual problems with website. Went to store in Bolton on sunday and purchased a TV as well as xtra card including xtra 2 years warranty. Was told none in stock but one available from other store in Bolton, went to other store 10 mins drive, only to be told it had been sold by a shop assistant who hadnt been told we were coming to collect it. Told it would be tuesday before one delivered from Bradford warehouse. Got email monday morning saying my TV ready for collection, tried ringing to make sure before setting off, only got answering machine, website not available. Tuesday rang again still answering machine, website OUCH administrators in. Rang number on website left details, they couldnt tell me anything except wait and we will be in touch. Going off the above experiance and what else has been wrote on this website to me it reads that they new what was happening on saturday, therfore is taking money for goods not available not the same as stealing.
  • John
    This was a great company with great people. It lasted 25 years and I'm utterly shocked at this sad sad news. It's clear from the administrator's statement that this was caused by the severe downturn, the withdrawal of credit insurance and banks still not lending. This is a tough time for the economy and unless something changes there will be more good businesses going to the wall. Gordon Brown - take action!
  • mick full terms of warranty on that link
  • FormerEmployee
    To reply to the above comment posted by 'Derk' I can assure you that NO-ONE in ANY store knew what was happening on saturday. At the end of the day, those sales people had a job to do because as far as they knew the business was running fine and our jobs were safe. It is not the 'same as stealing'. Theres no excuse for the lack of communication between the 2 stores though! Also, many of us worked until midinight on sun 18th doing stock-takes - do you think we would have done that if we new we were losing our jobs? On monday morning we were all told it was 'business as usual' - by 5pm we had lost our jobs. I sympathise with anyone who has had a bad experience and is uncertain about receiving money or goods from ED but please don't blame the staff - all we ever did was do what we were paid to do and most of us now face a difficult few weeks. The demise of the company has nothing to do with us! Blame the banks or better still, blame Gordon Brown!
  • derk
    In reply to former employer, I am in the same boat as yourself regarding job, mine went 31/12/2008. I feel that Empire Direct management knew what was happening, so to me it is still stealing. Im not blaming the staff Im blaming the management.
  • no t.
    I brought a £1k tv from them on 27/12. None in stock so told would be delivered on 22nd Jan. Phoned them up last Friday - the TVs had arrived into the distribution centre and were ready for dispatch. I wonder if I will be getting it tomorrow. Fingers crossed! Thank f'ck I paid for it on my credit card - section 75 here I come!
  • Graham J.
    I ordered a Toshiba TV from Empire Direct 2 weeks a go and I havent received it. I spoke to my credit card company on Tuesday and they told me that I will get my money back. I have since reorderd the TV from and they delivered the same TV to me on Friday. Despite being annoyed about the hastle of having to go and order elsewhere I am disappointed that Empire Direct have gone bust because I have been buying from them for about 5 years.
  • madan s.
  • Dafydd
    Is there a way to recieve a review of this?
  • Chris N.
    You are a very smart person! :)
  • a m.
    got lg teles fom ed if they go faulty then lifes a bitch oh well i married one.
  • Becky S.
    This is the nice site! I enjoy most of the articles which have been written, and especially the comments posted! I will definately be visiting again!
  • Seasons
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    hello!,I really like your writing so much! proportion we be in contact extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert in this area to solve my problem. Maybe that's you! Looking ahead to look you.
  • matlub h.
    I have paid 700 hundred pounds for sony tv date 9/1/2009.i am still waiting for details and I have contact to the haed office empiredirect but still waiting for my money. there is letter from that company .my name is matlub hussain I lives in [address removed - come on - don't be giving your home address away online, eh? - Ed]

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