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Grandad hands 'defunct' gift card to HMV staff in Lincoln and takes earphones

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

  • Defiant: Robert Hoare outside the store with the HMV card

  • Incident: Police were called but said it was a civil matter

  • Plugged in: The headphones that Mr Hoare 'bought' with the card

Comments (22)

Feisty grandad Robert Hoare prompted a High Street stand-off with shop staff after swapping what was a defunct gift card for new earphones at HMV in Lincoln.

The 61-year-old said he was "standing up for all those who had lost out" after the beleaguered chain originally announced it would not accept vouchers from customers.

Mr Hoare slapped the £25 card on the counter and left the shop with four packs of earphones.

Staff called police, but he kept the goods after officers said it was a civil matter.

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Mr Hoare, who left his name and address with staff, staged his protest on Saturday, January 19, after HMV entered administration.

Thousands of shoppers faced being left out of pocket when the company said it would not honour gift cards.

However, administrators have since announced a U-turn on the policy and said vouchers could be redeemed from Tuesday, January 22.

But Mr Hoare was not to know this when he risked arrest with his defiant act.

Mr Hoare's grandson, Josh Smith, 18, is a paper boy earning £30 a week. His card was actually issued by HMV as a refund.

Mr Hoare, from Rowston, near Sleaford, said he was not afraid to have risked arrest to speak up for all who have lost out.

"I did this for my grandson and all those kids who have not been able to spend their vouchers which people bought for them in good faith," he said.

"Josh works six mornings a week in all weathers delivering papers and the £25 at stake here is nearly a week's wages for him.

"The police took the view that this is a civil issue, not criminal, and that they are not prepared to take it any further.

"Had I been arrested, I would have denied theft and gone to court to give publicity to all those kids who have lost out.

"I have proved my point and I wish more people would take a stand on this.

"HMV should let us spend what is ours."

Mr Smith, a catering student from Peterborough, thanked his granddad for his direct action.

"Good on grandad for what he's done," said Josh.

"People have paid for these vouchers and HMV should accept them.

"It's us who have paid people's wages."

Josh had been given a £150 voucher refund at the Lincoln store after spending his birthday money on a tablet computer which became faulty.

No replacement was available so a gift card was issued because Josh didn't have a receipt.

When news of HMV's problems broke initially, Josh dashed out to spend as much as he could on games, CDs and DVDs, leaving a £25 balance.

Then on Monday, just 48 hours after Mr Hoare's very public protest, HMV's administrators performed a u-turn and revealed they would now accept gift cards.

So, does he think his stunt was responsible for the change of heart?

"Egotistically, I think that it was all my fault that they changed their minds," he said.

"If not, I played a small part. It is coincidental that I staged my protest on a Saturday and they changed their minds on a Monday."

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22 comments

  • TheLawofKarma  |  January 27 2013, 5:18PM

    What is missing from this report is that Mr Hoare videoed staff and threatened to go to the press and place videos on You Tube. This wasn't a selfless act for the 'kids' or anyone else. HMV was in Administration and Staff were only following instructions. Frontline staff are not responsible for the demise of HMV and face losing their jobs and in some cases their lively hoods. This was not a spur of the moment act and Mr Hoare would have been aware that the police were likely to be called in, a waste of police time and the tax payers money (yours and mine). He should have gone through the proper channels rather than taking the law into his own hands. He is deluding himself if he's believes that this is the way to change the decision of the Administrators or that he was doing it for anyone else but himself, why else would you go to the press and post videos on You Tube after the event ? Perhaps he would have felt differently if it had been his grandson that worked at HMV. Not a good example to set to the next generation ! Oh and it's always a good idea to keep your receipt for expensive items !

    |   3
  • Roadscource  |  January 25 2013, 4:25PM

    "the headphones are going to lose out" Eatmygoal, the headphones are the only thing not to lose out in this whole affair lol.

    |   -1
  • Roadscource  |  January 25 2013, 4:21PM

    "He's a petty thief, no different than lifting a bottle of milk from tesco and claiming the cheque is in the post." Not exactly xxrooxx. He took goods which he had paid for so he hasnt stolen anything at all and im not surprised HMV are getting abuse if you read my earlier post.

  • xxrooxx  |  January 25 2013, 12:45PM

    First of all, irresponsible reporting - copycats will likely get a lovely shoplifting charge against them (and rightly so). Second of all, what a moron. A gift card is CREDIT. When a company goes bust the CREDITORS have to wait for the ADMINISTRATORS to sort things out. He's a petty thief, no different than lifting a bottle of milk from tesco and claiming the cheque is in the post. Also, the situation has NOTHING to do with the poor staff who may lose their jobs. So an 18 year old paper boy (?!) and a criminal for a grandfather. Lovely family, what a perfect example of lincolnshire to show the world...

    |   1
  • Roadscource  |  January 25 2013, 12:43PM

    "Staff were not even aware of the companies fate until the news reported it" No, but i bet the senior management were well aware of the situation and still allowed gift cards to be sold. But then why not get money into the business without any goods leaving when its failing? I suppose the other alternative would have been to not bother paying the Corp Tax. In this Country the individual always foots the bill while the big Corporations get away scott free. Always been this way and always will be.

  • Lawrencebroll  |  January 24 2013, 11:03PM

    What a ********.

    |   1
  • freddie666  |  January 24 2013, 6:22PM

    It cannot be right that someone buying a gift voucher just before Christmas is buying it from a company whose management know they are about to go into administartion as was surely the case here. The person going in buying a £50 voucher should not need to do research as to the viability of that company before purchasing it. The majority of money owed to creditors by HMV will be to business suppliers, they at least are going into the deal knowing they will make profits if paid, and its up to them if they want to take that risk. The public buying a gift voucher should not have to take the same risk IMO

    |   8
  • eatmygoal  |  January 24 2013, 5:49PM

    Not sure why the consumer should be protected, they are a creditor and who is to say they are the most important? This is similar to the situation with a football club in administration where the debts to footballers must be paid first. It could drive smaller businesses owed by HMV under and their workforce with them and in my view not getting your headphones versus making people jobless, the headphones are going to lose out. By ringfencing certain groups the flexibility of the administrators is removed and a deal to save staff's job might well be missed. The take home message is to read the terms and conditions of the voucher or don't buy them as a present, I will leave my views on it being lazy to the side, rather than trying to change a perfectly adequate law.

    |   -7
  • freddie666  |  January 24 2013, 5:18PM

    I can totally see your point of view, which is why the law needs changing. If companies were forced by law to ring fence any monies received for gift vouchers then situations like this would not arise. Or perhaps directors of companies in administration should be forced to stump up personally, of course this could never happen, but it would deffo be a way of stopping them selling the vouchers just as they are about to go under. Anyway lets hope the Lincoln store survives looks like the administrators have plenty of interest so there must be agood chance.

    |   4
  • WelshyD1  |  January 24 2013, 4:50PM

    I direct you to "gcooling" a little below for a better worded explanation of my point.

    |   -1

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