SEVERAL clergy have been
left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after a clerical clothing
company went bankrupt.
Five ministers from across
the UK have contacted the Church Times to report that
items they ordered online from either Clergy Collar, or its
associated website the Clergy Shirt Club, have not arrived.
A non-stipendiary minister
at St Mary's, Portchester, the Revd Julie Jones, said that she
bought four shirts, costing almost £60, from the Clergy Shirt Club;
but despite the money leaving her account, the shirts never
"I even got an invoice once
I made the order, and then, a week later, an email to say my order
was complete," she said. "I contacted the courier to see if they
had my order, but they knew nothing. I am totally embarrassed that
I have been involved in this."
The assistant curate of
Tettenhall Regis, near Wolverhampton, the Revd Simon Douglas, spent
£45 last month on two shirts which were never delivered. "I had an
email confirmation, and then nothing," he said. "I rang him up, and
he offered to send them again, or give me a refund." More than five
days after asking for a refund, however, Mr Douglas said that he
had yet to get any of his money back.
Clergy Collar also sold a
£250 silver communion set to the Vicar of of St Thomas's and of St
John the Baptist's in Newport, Isle of Wight, the Revd Kevin
Arkell. "I had a curate who was being ordained; so we decided to
give her a home communion set," Mr Arkell said. "I ordered one from
Clergy Collar, but nothing appeared. Just after I had given up, a
pewter set arrived, but I had ordered a really high-quality
When Mr Arkell spoke to
Richard Collings, who had registered both the Clergy Collar and
Clergy Shirt Club websites, he denied all knowledge of the
Mr Collings told the
Church Times, however, that the two websites were run by
his wife, but had gone bust. "There are a small percentage of
orders that were not fulfilled. But as far as I'm aware the
customers would have been protected by their credit cards." He said
that the company could not refund any of the customers because
there was no money left. "It has to be the customers [who suffer].
That's what happens when a business folds," Mr Collings said.
"There will be suppliers and customers who lose out. But, as far as
I'm concerned, it was not them who lost out but Visa."
One of the main suppliers to
Clergy Collar, Reliant Shirts, said that the company had been
trading for about five years, but had got into trouble earlier this
year. A manager, Niall Arnold, said: "We were dispatching shirts to
Clergy Collar, but it seemed nothing was being dispatched on.
Payment for orders was being taken, but there was no further
communication. I still can't quite understand why the back orders
would not have been sent out."
The Clergy Shirt Club website states that the firm is closing
down; and that Clergy Collar has now been sold and is under new
management. The new owners told the Church Times that they
had nothing to do with Mr Collings, and that Reliant are still
supplying shirts to the new Clergy Collar.