FAMILIES desperately awaiting the arrival of their Hamper King deliveries have been told they're going to have to wait a little longer.
The once-popular company that offers payment plans with families trying to save for Christmas has come under fire after leaving thousands in the lurch.
But Hamper King doesn't just offer hampers, it also lets families pay money into a prepaid VISA credit card at the end of the year.
The VISA card works like any other credit card, meaning it can be used Australia-wide and is not store-specific.
And for Renee McKinnon, a mum-of-four from Adelaide, it was a proposal too good not to jump on.
Ms McKinnon paid close to $3000 over a period of 12 months to Hamper King, putting toys on lay-by and booking a holiday in the process, knowing she'd have the bulk sum from the VISA card to fall back on when those companies came knocking.
But, the Adelaide mum is still waiting for her cards and has been begging stores like Big W and Kmart for weeks to keep popular toys she placed on lay-by weeks ago off the shelves.
The family's holiday will be cancelled by the caravan park tonight if they don't receive $700, money she doesn't have.
Ms McKinnon says she spent countless hours on hold to Hamper King, and also called Australia Post numerous times.
Yesterday, when she still hadn't received her VISA cards and was allegedly hung up on by a Hamper King call operator, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
When she created the Facebook group Boycott Hamper King, Ms Mckinnon was floored by the response.
In less than a day, the group has been liked hundreds of times and she was inundated with thousands of messages detailing similar experiences.
Ms McKinnon has used payment plans with Hamper King for 11 years but said this will be her last year with the company.
"We're a young family trying to get ahead by doing something like this and we've been had," she said.
"I'm devastated. How can Hamper King be OK with this. I'm so ropeable and so upset."
In a statement to news.com.au, Hamper King said the delays were a result of underestimating demand. The company also guaranteed delivery of all cards within 48 hours and assured customers everything would be delivered by the end of the week.
"I recognise that in the busy lead-up to Christmas this is not ideal and I apologise to our valued Hamper King customers for the inconvenience," Hamper King General Manager David White said.
"I'm expecting that everyone will receive their cards in the next few days and hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas."
Michelle McQuilty, a member of Boycott Hamper King, slammed the company's claim it underestimated demand.
"They can't underestimate. We've been paying them for a freaking year," she said.
Sarah Hewes from Sydney is another disgruntled customer who received her cards today.
"Every time I spoke to someone I was told something different from, 'I'm sorry, Australia Post hasn't supplied us with tracking numbers yet' to 'It's not even the 8th yet so don't worry, and if they don't arrive by then it's only an estimated delivery date'."
"A few times I rang and was hung up on as soon as the call was picked up. When I rang to cancel next year's cards ... (a staff member) said it will take 21 days to get back to me," Ms Hewes said.
In a statement to news.com.au, Australia Post said the delivery problem was a result of an "issue with Hamper King's account".
"We have worked closely with Hamper King to help resolve this issue and have taken additional steps to ensure all customers receive their items before Christmas," the spokesman said.
Ms Hewes said that despite her cards being delivered she's still "screwed".
"I'm still screwed for Christmas. My kids' last day at school for the year is tomorrow so I won't have time to shop for all six of them plus extended family in one day and it's too late to do many of the online shopping I wanted without a risk of it not being delivered in time."
She is adamant she wants a refund.
"I was with them for seven or eight years (paying) $2000 to $2500 per year ... they claim to be sorry to loyal customers but treat us like s**t on their shoes," she said.
Melissa Marton, another Hamper King customer, received her cards yesterday.
"I received my $1700 of gift cards, there is a $250 fee applied to Hamper King when you purchase. So, I was initially worried I had lost $1950. They were extremely late, given the fact that we had finished paying for these the second week in October.
"I had sent emails, with no reply. I had spent nearly two hours on hold, without being able to get through to anyone. I know a lot of people were hung up on, ridiculed and treated poorly," she said.
Ms Marton said others have suffered more than her.
"I'm single, with little to no debt. It's the struggling families that rely on this money who live paycheck to paycheck."
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