Families' college and Christmas savings hit by collapse
AFTER battling leukaemia last year, Sharon Farrell was hoping life would take an easier course in 2011.
But now the Dubliner from Clonsilla is one of thousands of householders left reeling by the collapse of the household budgeting service.
The €1,700 she'd painstakingly saved to fund her son Darragh's first year in college and pay for his debs now looks to have been swallowed up by the collapse of Home Payments Ltd.
And another €2,100 she'd been saving towards Christmas expenses also looks in danger, while many of this month's utility bills could go unpaid unless she can find the money to pay them again.
Sharon had been paying €600 a month to the company which had been managing and paying her bills for the last 11 years.
"I just feel like my money has been robbed from me," she said.
"My son will be the first one in the family to go to college and we've been putting money aside for him because his education comes first. For two years, I haven't had a holiday, I haven't even gone out for a meal or a drink, and now it's gone," she said.
Teresa O'Connor from Clondalkin, who also spoke on RTE's 'Liveline', said she'd been paying her bills through Home Payments for over 30 years and a collector had called on Tuesday to collect €1,400 for her and four other members of her family.
These included ESB, gas, life cover, house insurance, TV licence, phone and car tax while her daughter had saved up €2,100 for Christmas.
She paid €75 per quarter for those services.
"I always felt it was worth it because I wouldn't get into debt or have to worry about making all those payments because I'm the type who just doesn't want to worry about money," she said.
"No one stands up for the ordinary people in this, the banks who got the country into all the difficulties get whatever they want and we're left with nothing.''
Collette Collins, from Drimnagh, said she'd been paying into the service all her married life, paying €1,000 a month to cover her mortgage, other bills and save for extras.
"I don't know how we're going to manage if we have to pay everything twice this month, I don't even know how to pay a bill because I've never done it," she said.