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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Farepak agents speak of sadness
Farepak agents from around the UK have been contacting the BBC after the announcement that the Christmas hamper firm has ceased trading.

Customers had paid the agents money every month towards voucher or hampers, which they had expected to receive at the start of the festive season.

But administrators at the firm say that no orders will now be fulfilled.

"I have been an agent for seven years and am totally distraught," said Julie Lavin of Wigan, Lancashire.

It was heartbreaking to have to tell my customers they would no longer be receiving their vouchers
Farepak agent Sandra Cussons

Ms Lavin has paid Farepak 7,700 for Christmas goods vouchers this year on behalf of her many customers.

"Most of my customers look forward to receiving their vouchers as they cannot afford to buy in bulk and they love the idea of spreading their payments," she said.

"What an untimely day to call in the liquidators - just as I pay my final balance."

'No warnings'

Agent Marisa Cavarra, 69, of Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, who has been with Farepak for nine years, has lost 300, and so have her two customers.

"I paid my money last month and there were no warnings that there were problems," she said.

"Now this has come with a bang, out of the blue. It is the worst possible time, with Christmas so close."

Fellow agent, Lisa Gordon of Scotland, said she was appalled at the news.

"The way the company have dealt with agents over the past 24 months has been atrocious," said Ms Gordon.

"Where can they even start to make amends? What is more maddening is that we the agents have to be the ones to break the bad news.

"I feel I have been the one that has let all my customers down, as I am sure do most of the agents."

Sandra Cussons, another Farepak agent, said her customers were very upset.

"It was heartbreaking to have to tell them they would no longer be receiving their vouchers."

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