Customers left fuming and out of pocket by sudden closure of St Albans design store

That Design Store

That Design Store - Credit: Archant

Fury is mounting over a recently-closed design store which did not fulfil orders before shutting up shop.

That Design Store, in Market Place, St Albans, closed its doors recently and a notice was placed on the front door from the landlord’s agents on Friday (8) stating that the lease had been terminated.

Questions have been raised over the demise of the store, mostly by angry customers who have been left without their orders and have received no refund.

Cherif Rifaat purchased three Tom Dixon lights on February 23, which amounted to nearly £700, but never received the lights or a refund.

He said: “They took our £700, never gave us an invoice, fobbed us off with excuses for six weeks and then shut up shop. The directors now claim it is nothing to do with them and we should stick the bill on the bank or credit card company.

“It seems to me like little more than basic fraud.”

Cherif has filed a formal complaint with the Insolvency Service and completed a police Action Fraud report.

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Another customer, who did not want to be named, said she had found the store through a listing on Tom Dixon’s website but when she queried the order directly with the company, they told her they had since cut ties with That Design Store as it owed them thousands.

She added: “I’m angry and I feel like I have been robbed in the street. You expect it on a dodgy website or on eBay even, but not in an independent.”

She continued: “I was hoping that someone might be decent and refund me even half of it but nobody has been decent. They’ve been childlike and incompetent and they don’t deserve to run a company.”

Mystery surrounds who is responsible for fulfilling the orders as the current owner has allegedly told the customers that he has resigned and the company has been in administration since April 1.

Oliver Zissman, who co-founded That Design Store in 2014, said that he and his partner sold the business on February 26 to focus on other ventures and that he was sad about the current situation.

He maintained that although Cherif’s order was made on February 23, all transactions were handed over to the new owner when he left and he had no control over it.

On the shop’s failure, Oliver said: “I’m sad to see that happen and to see it close so quickly.

“When we sold the business it was a lovely business and what has happened since I have no control over.”

Oliver said he had been in contact with other frustrated customers and staff members who had also allegedly been ‘left in the lurch’.

He added: “There’s nothing more I can do apart from help and give my personal advice.”

The Herts Advertiser contacted the Tom Dixon company for comment but did not receive a response.