The debt collectors are now threatening Flowerfete retailers on behalf of the liquidators KSA Recovery. Fresh Bouquets Ltd, t/a Flowerfete, went into voluntary creditors’ liquidation on February 18, leaving a number of retailers in the lurch on Valentine’s Day.

Keith Caine from Mardy Post Office in Abergavenny received a blunt collector’s letter telling him that, since he had ignored previous warnings (first he’d heard of it), court action would proceed in seven days. It was claimed that Keith owed £71.37. “Tehnically, I do owe some money,” says Keith, “but only £20-25. The supplies were on sale or return and I got left with unsold stock.”

What happened was that Flowerfete’s last delivery included a dozen single long-stem fake roses. “They were too tacky to put on display,” he says. “So I put them in the stockroom to go back.”

It seems odd that Flowerfete chose to close just as the big bouquet season launched. Why are debt collectors coming on strong for a measly £70? The situation raises more questions than it answers.

I advised Keith to write recorded delivery to the debt collectors, telling them that the amount is in dispute and would they like to come and collect the unsold stock?

He did this and they were on the phone again, saying that was nothing to do with them. Keith said he had the barcodes for the flowers he had had to throw away and the lovely long stem roses, and they could still come and collect. At this point Octopus Management & Consulting told him it would not be worth attempting recovery.

Should the debt collectors decide to go the distance the court would be obliged to notify you. The letter he received had no force of law and is merely heavy to get attention. Many receiving such letters will think, well, only £70, easier to pay up. Don’t rush.