When house-proud Fiona Boston bought her new sofa at House of Fraser this summer, she was so besotted she immediately got rid of her old one.
“I was really excited, I thought ‘right, get my skirting boards clean, really get my room ready for this new suite coming’,” she told ITV in an interview.
But after news of the collapse of the high street chain, which went into administration last month before being bought by Sports Direct, Boston admits to having “sleepless nights” over the prospect of never seeing the £2,200 suite she had paid for.
“I’d been taking anodyne and had a headache permanently. I’m worried - it’s a lot of money,” she said.
“I just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, the phone calls, the emails, so I rang the police.”
Despite weeks of confusion, the 52-year-old was no closer to securing her new sofa – despite having also paid £68 for delivery.
“All those managers were going home, all those staff were going home sitting on a nice settee, but I wasn’t,” she said.
The situation reached breaking point, in part because Boston’s husband was recovering from a brain aneurism and found sitting on temporary deckchairs in the couple’s front room uncomfortable.
So, having found the sofa was still on display in the House of Fraser store in Darlington, Boston took matters into her own hands.
She rented a van and assembled a small crack team of helpers to bring about what she has since described as “British justice”.
The cameras were rolling as Boston’s team swiftly entered the store, dismantled the sofa and carried it outside to the waiting van.
“We’d just got it locked up and the managers came running out and were screaming ‘this is theft’,” Boston said.
“No, theft is when you’ve taken the cash - hard-earned cash - and you won’t give me the goods.”
The van was later pulled over by police who, Boston said, called House of Fraser to establish the facts. Officers later decided the issue was a civil matter.
Boston’s forthright manner and no-nonsense approach has gained her support online.
But Boston’s feud with House of Fraser doesn’t end there. Despite the main sofa now being safely installed in her living room, additional cushions and a footstool remain elusive.
“I’m more mad because I’m not going to get my poofy and my cushions off of them,” she said. “How am I going to get them?”
House of Fraser has been contacted for comment.