Families across Wales have lost hundreds of pounds each after Christmas hamper company Farepak went into administration.
Among them are a group of eight workers from Flintshire County Council, who each put more than £300 into the scheme in return for vouchers or hampers.
One, Jan Kelly, said: "We've been told we might get a little bit back, but not all of it."
The company has warned customers they are unlikely to receive anything.
Ms Kelly said: "We've all put at least £300 in, some people even more.
"It's terrible really, particularly for the lady who organised it for us - she feels awful, but it's not her fault at all."
In Wrexham, several families on the Plas Madoc estate have also been affected.
Andrew Harradine, of the Plas Madoc Communities First programme, said: "We have had people calling us today very worried about what they should do.
"I know of three people who have lost up to £500.
"There are also rumours of a group on the estate who have lost up to £4,000."
He added: "If people are concerned, they can come and see us for advice. But I would urge them to get in touch with the company and at least try to lodge a claim.
"If they don't lodge a claim, they might not get anything back."
Disabled Plas Madoc resident Kath Evans, 58, said: "I am devastated to hear the news about Farepak.
"I have lost over £400 and know many who have lost similar amounts.
"This will have a serious impact on our families' Christmas. I will be contacting the company to make a claim for my loss and would urge others to."
Marisa Cavarra, 69, of Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, a Farepak agent for nine years, has lost £300, and she said: "We had no indication that anything like this was about to happen.
"I paid my money last month and there were no warnings that there were problems. Now this has come with a bang out of the blue.
"Fortunately, I only have two customers, but they have lost hundreds of pounds each too. It is the worst possible time, with Christmas so close."
Farepak said it was unable to deliver any orders at present.
Many of the firm's customers make regular year-round payments via a network of local agents as a way of saving for Christmas.
The company's website, which until Monday morning was promising a "stress-free and affordable Christmas", warns that customers are unlikely to receive any goods for which they have already paid.
In a statement from the administrators, the site suggests that clients can expect some money back, but not for "many months".
Part of catalogue shopping group European Home Retail, Farepak has over 35,000 agents around the UK who collect money from family and friends.
Anyone wishing to lodge a claim is asked to fax details to joint administrators on 01793 606057, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org