Major Brit rent-to-own chain Brighthouse has gone into administration with thousands of jobs now at risk.
The High Street retailer had axed 30 stores last month in a last ditch attempt to save the company from collapse.
It then had to close all 240 of its stores nationwide as part of the coronavirus lockdown.
But it has now gone into administration, although its 200,000 customers will still need to keep making payments.
Debt adviser Sara Williams told the BBC: "Now the company is expected to go into administration, customers need to think if they can manage to make the repayments.
"If their income has fallen because of coronavirus, they should ask for a payment break.
"And if the item is just too expensive, they should ask for a lower payment arrangement.
"They may be able to make an affordability complaint and get a refund of the interest they have paid on previous items."
Brighthouse is expected to appoint Grant Thornton as its administrator within days after its investors withdrew support for a proposed restructuring.
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A source close to BrightHouse shareholders had recently told Sky News that a potential collapse had become more likely in recent weeks.
It comes just months after the retailer announced plans to shut down 30 stores and axe 350 staff, having continued to struggle financially.
Three years ago, in 2017, the retailer was ordered to pay back a staggering £14.8million to customers after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found it had treated customers unfairly.
Then in 2018 the FCA announced plans to cap the amount of interest that rent-to-own retailers charge customers, which has hit the industry hard.
The cap, which means the maximum interest paid will be no more than the cost of the product itself, started in April 2018.
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Just five months later BrightHouse then reported a £2.2million slump – with a rise in pre-tax loses from £19.9million to £22.1million in the six months to September 29, 2018.
Rent-to-own customers make monthly payments on products at retailers like these until they have paid in full.
But the price can quickly mount up because of interest rates that can reach 99% a year.
The FCA’s rule change now means, for example, if a fridge costs £200, customers will pay no more than £400.
The change had come after the FCA found 400,000 people were paying an extra £23million a year on goods such as TVs and fridges due to overpricing and excessive interest charges.
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