DISAPPOINTED Runcorn families are facing a bleak Christmas as a result of saving scheme company Farepak going bust.
Thousands of people put money aside each month with Farepak, saving for festive gifts, shopping vouch-ers, and food and drink hampers.
But last week the Swindon-based company announced it would not honour any orders or return any money given.
May Hubbard, 62, of Stanley Street, Runcorn, has lost hundreds after paying monthly instalments to Fare-pak throughout the year.
She said: 'I have been putting money away with them for years. This year I have saved £200 for vouch-ers which I was going to spend on my four grandchildren at Christmas.
'A message on their answer machine said that we won't get any money back and we won't get any goods either.
'It's disgusting that this has happened so near to Christmas. I'm onlyapensionerand Idon'tgetmuch money.Idon'tknow whatI'mgoingto do now.'
Customers were soon to receive vouchers, presents and hampers, but
a message on Farepak's phone line said: 'We will not fulfil any orders of hampers, vouchers, jewellery etc. Customers will not get a refund.'
John New, also from Runcorn, is another customer who has lost out. The father-of-six has been saving every week since January.
Hesaid:'We havelost£350altogether. It's going to be a real struggle.'
Joan Holmes, of Castle Rise, has been a Farepak agent for 15 years: 'About 23 people order through me, and all but one of them live in Run-corn. Alltogether theyhavelostmore then £10,000.'
Farepak, part of catalogue shopping group European Home Retail, has been operating in Britain since 1969 and has 35,000 agents.
A statement from the joint administrators on Farepak's website informs customers that they may be able toclaimsome,but notall,oftheir money back, and this will not be for many months.
Customers can get information about making a claim by visiting www.farepak.co.uk email@example.com