Customers of a beleaguered furniture retailer have expressed their outrage after the firm closed all of its stores, leaving many in the dark about whether or not they would get the items they had down payments on.

The fate of Direct Sale Centre (DSC) has been the subject of much speculation after it emerged that three of its stores failed to pay rent. Local media have reported that the firm is at least HK$3.3 million behind in rent payments. Over 500 employees have been made redundant.

Last month, DSC closed five of its stores in Tuen Mun, North Point, Mong Kok, Sha Tin and Kowloon Bay. However, shoppers were caught off-guard on Monday when the company suddenly closed its remaining 14 stores, leaving customers confused as to what will happen to items they made payments on or were due to collect.

Confused customers standing outside a shuttered DSC store unaware that the company closed all 14 of its remaining outlets.

In a report by Apple Daily, a woman known only as Ms Chan said she had just completed her down payment for a washing machine that cost more than HK$3,000. Another man named Mr Lai said he tried to contact customer service but no one was available to take his call. The paper also reported that DSC held a sale just days earlier but shop staff told all customers they were accepting cash only, as opposed to credit cards.

Netizens took to online forum HKGolden to complain about their experiences, from beds that haven’t been delivered to cabinet doors falling off their hinges. One person said they paid for a mattress that was meant to be delivered to their home but they have yet to receive a call from DSC’s customer service to let them know of any changes in delivery arrangements. Another person said they were waiting for DSC to deliver TV cabinet, a wardrobe and a five-foot bed.

One user on Reddit accused DSC of stealing customers’ money and “robbing customers of their right to gain possession of their promised furniture.”

Some concerned customers also posted comments on DSC’s Facebook page asking for reassurances that any items that were previously paid for would still be delivered.

DSC logo: Photo: DSC.

Hong Kong’s Consumer Council received 42 complaints concerning DSC’s closure on Monday.

Hundreds unemployed.

The sudden closure of DCS’s last remaining outlets also surprised its employees with many turning up for work unaware that the company had decided to close all remaining outlets.

Ming Pao and Apple Daily reported that more than 500 DSC staff have been made redundant as a result.

On Monday night, the Labour Department said more than 200 DSC employees had sought help from department officials. The department also confirmed it would speak to their employer to assist those who were owed wages.

Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.