/ Shopping, Technology

Life in the old dog yet: will you go back to HMV and Jessops?

HMV shop logo

With previous casualties Jessops and HMV returning to the high street after being placed into administration, are you rushing back to them with open arms? Or are you practising caution?

Just two months after going into administration, camera chain Jessops has re-opened two of its stores in London and Birmingham with plans to reopen another 30-40 stores. Hot on its heels is HMV, which is to have 141 stores saved in a £50m deal from restructuring specialists, Hilco.

Peter Jones, the Dragons’ Den star who bought Jessops, referred to the camera chain as an ‘iconic British brand which can lead the retail resurgence on Britain’s high streets’. But are you quite as convinced this Dragon? Will you be buying from these previously bruised brands – or would you rather go online or to an alternative retailer?

Going back to HMV and Jessops

The retail industry has undoubtedly suffered in recent years, with many high street shops struggling to stay afloat in an online world, where your chosen item is often at its cheapest on the net.

Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that buying your camera online lacks the opportunity to speak to someone face-to-face about your potential purchase. Nor do you get the chance to handle it in store.

Peter Jones has also said that he aims for customers to get products for the same price in store as on the Jessops website. So perhaps customers will be keen to snap up cameras on the high street? I also wonder whether people will be more likely to shop in HMV and Jessops just for the simple fact that they want to support their favourite high street brands to make sure they don’t go under.

Your rights when companies go bust

Personally, I’m a bit cautious with any company that has gone into administration.

I find it hard to believe that the problems that faced these companies before, are going to be sufficiently minimised to make it worth re-opening them for trade. I’d worry I’d be burned if I bought from the company and retail lightning struck twice I’d be left out of pocket.

Normally, you have a right to return faulty items under the Sale of Goods Act. However, if you do buy from a company that’s gone into administration, your rights depend on the administrator. To save the store the administrators may decide not to accept returns, and it could refuse to accept gift vouchers. This was something HMV and Jessops customers initially suffered, but thankfully both stores are now back on the cards.

So, do you think it’s second-time lucky for these stores, or will you be giving them a wide berth – and if so, why?


Now that Comet has gone and Currys is on my blacklist for their continued inability to recognise consumer rights under the Sale of Goods Act, I might well use Jessops. I am prepared to pay a little more for the privilege of being able to see and handle goods, though if I know exactly what I’m buying I will usually buy online.

I only used HMV to buy gift vouchers for teenagers. They have grown up now and I no longer trust gift vouchers. If they get rid of the annoying music I might consider shopping at HMV.


I agree about the annoying music. For a chain that used to stock many types of music (including some classical) and video, I never understood why the shop manager thought their particular taste in music would appeal to the majority of their customers. Or was it purely for the benefit of the staff?

Either way, I always regreted going in for a browse and made a hasty retreat after about 5 minutes of ear bashing – empty handed, of course. In fact, I can’t remember when I last bought anything at HMV.

But presumably I’m in the minority and they knew what they were doing … oh no, they just went bankrupt!


It will depend on how competitive they are on price. I purchased my camera about 18 months ago from a local independent dealer. Their price was competitive with online prices, but Jessops were almost a £100 more expensive.

I used to check Jessops whenever I wanted other equipment but never found them competitive. I will continue to check prices now they’ve re-opened and will be happy to purchase but only if the price is competitive.

Will vouchers sold before they went into administration be valid in the re-opened stores? I had one for Christmas.


Hi Jonas,

I just gave Jessops a call for you – although gift cards won’t be accepted as a form of payment, because Jessops is trading under a different company, they are offering a goodwill gift for anyone with gift cards.

To receive your gift, Jessops has told me you can do one of two things –

1. Go to the store with the gift card and you will receive one of the gifts, depending on the value of your gift card. The gift system works on a tiered system of different gifts.
2. Send the gift card off to head office with a forwarding address, and they will send the gift through to you.

Hope this helps!


How very generous of Jessops. Either they should change their name and wave goodbye to there existing customer base, accept the vouchers, replace them with new ones, or offer a full refund.


Hello Florence,

Thank-you for doing this for me. Much appreciated. I will send the voucher to Jessops and let you know what happens (I don’t live near any re-opened stores).

Louby says:
16 May 2013

I have a gift voucher given to us as a wedding gift. What was the gift you got back?
VERY dissapointed in Jessops, we were going to buy a canvas and now have nothing to show for our gift.
Agree with Wavechange!!

Tony S says:
11 April 2013

I think there are two different cases here. I don’t see how anyone buying a camera (for anything other than the sort of capability available on a ‘phone) could buy one without handling it first. You need to see whether you can see through the viewfinder (if it has one!), handle the controls and understand the basics of the menus. HMV’s product range of CDs/videos etc. can all be bought “as seen”, without examination. I would therefore be delighted to see Jessops return to my area, but I’m afraid that Amazon has the HMV-related market covered for me.