The best that can be said about the final payout to the creditors of Christmas savings scheme Farepak is that 50p is better than 15p in the pound.
This is a shocking saga and lessons must be learned from it. The savers – predominantly low-paid women – chose to put a small sum aside each week to fund a little Christmas cheer. Their actions exemplified the old-fashioned virtues of thrift and providence. But instead of the "best Christmas ever", as the Farepak publicity promised, the company went out of business and its customers lost all their savings, an average of £400 each. For the 116,400 savers, including 25,000 in Scotland, 2006 was more like the worst Christmas ever.
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