Consumers and retailers could find themselves out of pocket following news that Equivouchers (Promotions) Ltd has ceased trading.
The voucher scheme was hailed as the “new currency of the equestrian world” when it was launched last year. The £5, £10 and £20 vouchers were sold at saddlery and tackshops nationwide.
Originally run by Equivouchers, the scheme hit financial trouble earlier this year and appointed liquidators to deal with 70-plus creditors. Equivouchers (Promotions) Ltd then formed amid assurances that trading would not be affected. Business resumed, but last month the firm wrote to tell retailers that it, too, had ceased trading.
The firm’s managing director Charles Lousada (who is in his 40s and is based in Gloucestershire) wrote: “We would ask that you stop selling vouchers . . . [those] you have issued and are presented for redemption can be honoured.”
The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) urges consumers who have vouchers to try to redeem them at the point of purchase.
But BETA chief executive Claire Williams added: “People who have bought vouchers in good faith may be left out of pocket, and retailers may face problems because they don’t want to redeem vouchers.”
The vouchers were meant to work in a similar way to book tokens, with retailers buying them for 5% of their face value. Sue Moxon, managing director of Yorkshire-based R&R Country, said her tackshop stopped issuing vouchers just months after the scheme began.
“We realised we weren’t going to be paid for those we’d sold, and sure enough we have never received a penny,” she said. “We contacted everyone to whom we’d sold vouchers and reimbursed them.
“We’ve lost about £250. I would never use a system like this again unless it was run by BETA. In fact, I doubt a scheme like this will happen again — nobody would trust it.”
Horse & Hound tried to contact Equivouchers (Promotions) Ltd but our e-mail was not answered and the firm’s numbers were unobtainable.