South East Wales

Bridgend-based Buy As You View firm in administration

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A rent to own TV and domestic appliance firm has gone into administration with the loss of 41 jobs.

Another 226 jobs are at risk at Bridgend-based Buy As You View (BAYV), which has 40,000 customers across the UK.

Administrators EY said the company had "continued to incur significant losses" despite major restructuring.

The business started in Pontypridd in 1972 and was at one time a major sponsor of the town's rugby club.

Of the 41 redundancies, 19 were in south Wales.

The company started offering rent to own TVs but has branched out into deals for other electrical and domestic appliances as well as furniture.

Back in 2010, the company claimed to have 100,000 customers and 700 staff.

Image caption Buy As You View, which started in Pontypridd, once employed 700 staff

The company offers online hire purchase, which can involve a smart meter being connected to the household TV as security, restricting viewing if people do not keep up with their payments.

Joe O'Connor, joint administrator, said: "Over the last year, BAYV, has sought to respond to a period of significant market and regulatory change in the sector and has undertaken a substantial restructuring of its business model and operations.

"This included moving to an online sales model and focusing on core parts of the UK where the Buy As You View brand is best known and has a loyal customer base.

"However, despite attempts to adjust its cost base to a more sustainable basis, the business has continued to incur significant losses."

He said the directors had now reluctantly placed Dunraven Finance - which trades as BAYV - into administration to enable further restructuring to be undertaken.

"As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to make 41 people redundant and are now working with the company's remaining 226 employees to continue to manage the business," said Mr O'Connor.

The administrator said he wanted to reassure customers who have bought products through Buy As You View that it was "business as usual" and they should continue to make payments in the usual way.

Speaking on Good Evening Wales, Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon said there are two lots of people affected by the news.

She said staff who work in the Bridgend headquarters "must be very worried about their future and jobs", and they will be offered help and support from the Department of Work and Pensions and the local authority.

She was also concerned about the 40,000 people who have furniture and electrical goods contracts with the firm.

Analysis by Brian Meechan, BBC Wales business correspondent

Buy As You View allows people to buy products ranging from TVs and game consoles to furniture on a weekly basis until the end of the repayment term, when they then own the product.

Interest rates are very high - 68.9% is the APR advertised on the company's website. But credit is offered to people who may struggle to get credit elsewhere or have no credit rating at all.

Regulations have changed though and are much stronger in this area, with the regulator having much more control.

BAYV was ordered by the Financial Conduct Authority last year to pay a total of almost £1m compensation to 59,000 customers. Amongst concerns were the use of payment meters to restrict a customer access to their TV if payments were not received on time.

The company has been looking to restructure ever since and administrators will now be looking for a way through to help those 226 remaining workers, whose jobs are at risk.

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