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Park Christmas Savings Club

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19 Reviews

Saving with Park is so easy... take a look through our site to learn more about the UK's number 1 Christmas Savings Club and how we can make yours a magical Christmas to remember!

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      04.11.2013 21:34
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      been using them for years and I'm still loving it!

      I have been a member of Parks Christmas Savings Club for the last 3 years and each Christmas it has really helped me be able to budget and manage for presents and even get a little treat for myself! Parks essentially have a vast catalogue of items from food hampers and sets, gift vouchers, electronics such as an iPad or PS3 where the cost can be spread over the year in time for receiving them in Christmas. It's pretty easy to get the hang of and it's so straightforward to use!

      * About Parks *

      They have been around since 1967 and offer customers to pay for items of their choice spread over the year in time for Christmas. They are a member of the Christmas Prepayment Association (a self regulatory trade association) so should there be a dispute (i.e. monies lost that have been paid into the Company for orders later on) then you are able to take it to them to settle the dispute and the CPA can take disciplinary action on Parks should they need to. This does mean that there is no legal governing body which I am sure will worry some people but I have experienced no problems so far.

      * Items to Order *

      There really is a huge catalogue of items you can order from, including toys, vouchers, experiences, food, clothing etc. The past few years I have simply stuck with vouchers, but the first year I joined I ordered vouchers and a small kitchen set which when paid over the year costs £60. I was so excited, and when it came of course I simply wrapped it up and was looking forward to seeing what I paid for when we assembled it on Christmas day. What a disappointment. It was tiny, weak, flimsy and I was so annoyed as it was not worth the price paid at all. To rub salt into my wounds I saw a better looking one in Mothercare a few days later for only £30 (half the price I paid). I will not forget that Christmas! Nevertheless, I have always stuck with Love 2 Shop Vouchers as you can't go wrong. This year I branched out and ordered some Marks & Spencers Vouchers and Arcadia Vouchers (as I knew I needed a coat and I hope to get one in either Topshop or Dorothy Perkins) so there is a wide range of those to choose from including John Lewis, Debenhams, iTunes, Amazon, Toys R Us and many more that would come in handy.

      In terms of food you can get hampers of cheese, crisps, alcohol, meat, tinned goods or an assortment of them all ranging from £60-£200 worth. I do think if you are having a big Christmas and need to know your food shopping is sorted from early I can see how this will appeal. I have never bought these as 1. I always go to my mums for Christmas and she buys all food and drink etc and 2. If I even was I am not sure I would want my meat from here! I would prefer just buying Marks & Spencer vouchers from here and then using these around Christmas time to buy my food and drink etc.

      The electricals are also quite inflated in price, as an item such as an iPad when paid off on Parks will cost £315 whereas if you bought it outright it would only cost £250 from Tesco or somewhere. I'm sure it will suit those who can't afford to buy it in one go but for me I would miss that £65 and probably by the end of next year a new iPad would have been released and it will cost significantly less anyway! A clever way round this in my opinion is to just buy Love 2 Shop Vouchers which you can use in Argos or Debenhams or somewhere and then use it to buy the iPad from there!

      * How to Order *

      You can do it two ways. Either you can join through an agent, and give them your order and you give them your weekly/monthly payments for your order or you can do it yourself. The first year I joined, my mum was doing it through her neighbour who was doing it through someone else as her agent. I had absolutely no problems with my order, only it seemed a bit long going through all these channels. So the following year I simply signed up myself, absolutely no hassle and I did the orders for me, my sister and my mum. Easy peasy. It wasn't really anything to do with commission, more I like being in control of my payments and knowing what's going on, i.e. when my items will be delivered etc and not having to go through my mums, neighbours agent lol.

      * Payments & Commission *

      Payments are quite easy, I usually pay online my monthly instalment via the website which applies on your account rather quickly. Payments made online via card have to be a minimum of £10 which is worth bearing in mind. I can also pay via paypoint as I have a little slip with a barcode which is identifiable to my account. Sometimes I use this option as you can make payments from a minimum of £5, so if I have a fiver lying around I always keep the barcode in my purse and can pay it off bit by bit.

      In order to break up my payments, I usually try and order something to a decent figure - e.g. my order this year was £250 and I always start payments in January as this gives me 10 months, seeing as orders need to be fully paid off by November. This gives me equal monthly payments of £25 which I can easily do. With my customers, my mum usually gives me her payment on whichever day of the month she gets paid and I pay it via paypoint for her and give her the receipt later so she can also keep track of where she's up to.

      For vouchers, they can be paid up until the 1st of November for orders to be processed on time. Should there be any outstanding amount, Parks will only despatch the vouchers to the value that have been paid. However, should you order anything else these need to be paid up to plan by September or else these will be converted to Love 2 Shop vouchers. For example, You order an iPad Mini for £315 and so need to pay £31.50 a month. If by August the customer has only paid £80 and not kept up, they will not receive the iPad and the £80 will be converted to vouchers as Parks need to confirm with their supplier by this date for these orders.

      To be honest I don't even pay any attention to Commission. I only do orders for me, my mum (and sometimes my sister but not this year) and this year it was something really small like £3 and some change as our order was a small one - I ordered £250 (a mixed amount of Love 2 Shop, Marks & Spencer and Arcadia vouchers) and my mum £150 of Love 2 Shop vouchers. It is about 1% of orders on vouchers under £500 and increases for each £500. I am not bothered about getting loads of customers for more commission as I really just do this for the practicality of saving for Christmas and not having to find extra money come November/December to buy all the presents I need to. You can get paid Commission (if its even worth it) in a number of ways - by cheque, in love 2 shop vouchers (when they will add another 5% to the value), taken off your own order payment or you can roll it over to next year. In the past I opted for cheque but looked rather pathetic cashing in a £6.52 cheque - or some other equally silly amount - so the last 2 times I just opted for it to come off my own order.

      * Delivery *

      Once everything is all paid off a few days later I usually receive a text that my order is being processed and will receive a later text when its out for delivery. Altogether I usually find this is 2-3 working days after I paid, and they use DX courier service to dispatch the items. Mine were only vouchers this year, but I got a text on the friday that they would be out for delivery this Monday. This was rather annoying as they require a signature and the delivery states any time between 8am and 6pm! Very frustrating as the last thing I want to do is sit indoors and twiddle my thumbs all day. Luckily for me they came today at 8.55am and everything was in tact and I was happy as Larry! I did have a few issues last year as they kept trying to deliver when I wasn't home, and when I tried to put my workplace for delivery, I had to be the one to sign and I needed ID to prove who I was (i.e. passport and drivers licence). Typical they took ages to come, then as soon as I went out for lunch they delivered it to my work and allowed my colleague to sign for it instead anyway!

      * Final Points *

      I know this isn't the solution for everyone but for me it is a life saver and I already have a list of things I will be buying my daughter, my friends kids, my mum and sister in Argos for Christmas and I know my vouchers will be put to really good use. They are really the only thing in my opinion worth the money, and as my birthday is in November I always order a decent amount (this year £60) so I can treat myself to a new item of clothing and feel like I haven't had to burden my bank account in one month! The options are vast, payments are easy and whenever I have had to call customer care to amend an order or get an update on payments left they are extremely helpful, simple and knowledgeable. I would certainly recommend Parks to anyone wanting a stress free and nicely budgeted Christmas!

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        12.11.2010 13:15

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        Am looking for an alternative supplier next year - any suggestions?

        Been with Park for 2 years - last year was really good - was able to change my order in the middle of the year with no penalty, really helpful, paid by direct debit and items arrived really quickly.

        Voucher choices are great - some of the food items look good, but some seem overpriced. There is no proper wine case either - which would be a nice addition. Fairly OK product mix. I ordered a quad bike for my little boy, some vouchers and a small food hamper - so I ordered a mixture for 2010.

        This year has been a huge disappointment. Paid by direct debit again, but due to a "huge number of orders" still no vouchers. I have also been allocated impractical delivery dates for my goods and have been told that I may not be able to change them so have had to take (unpaid) time off work. They also class between 8am and 3pm as the morning so you really do have to sit in all day for your items ( noon - 8pm is the afternoon apparently!). Customer care have been very unhelpful - they claim not to have know that so many people would order - surely they have know all year - isn't that the point??

        My main issue is that they have had my full payment (over £450 in total) for 10 days now and I have no sign of any of my items - all I know is that some are being delivered in a fortnight at an inconvenient time.

        On balance the idea is great and I am looking for a similar company to go to next year (I wouldn't use Park again as customer care seems to have gone downhill). However, I am too disappointed in the service this year to return.

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        15.02.2010 14:14
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        EXCELLENT SITE AND CATALOGUE

        Excellent site!

        *About the Company*

        Park is a Christmas savings company. It helps customers to budget for Christmas by paying in however much they can afford each week or month.

        *How does it work*

        Orders can be placed through the website www.park.tv or through an agent if you know one. Once your order is placed, you will receive confirmation and a payment card.Payments can be spread over 45weeks and the payment amounts vary depending on how much you are spending.

        Example - if you ordered £450 of vouchers, your payments would be £10 over 45weeks.

        *What can you order*

        Park has a wide selection of products which include home entertainment, dvds, food and hampers, toys and perfume. The main product sold by Park is gift vouchers and gift cards. These range from £10 up to £675 booklets or cards and are available for various shops and activities including M&S, Arcadia, Debenhams, Thomas Cook and most importantly Love2Shop vouchers which are the same as Highstreet Vouchers.

        *When will i receive my order*

        All payments must be in by 1st November and your order will be delivered in time for Christmas.

        *How do i pay*

        Payments can be made by cash using giro slips (post office or paypoint), debit or credit card, cheque or by giving the cash to your agent.

        *How do i join*

        Visit the website and order a catalogue or order online. If you know an agent, they will be able to give you a catalogue.

        *What do i do if i need to cancel anything*

        Simpy call the customer care line (no in catalogue) and they will be able to amend or cancel any orders.

        *Why should i join Park*

        Park is an ideal way to budget for Christmas and as it is all paid for in advance, you will have nasty debts to contend with after Christmas. If you are an agent, you can receive commision up to 4% on love2shop vouchers and lower amounts for other items.

        *My Opinion*

        I decided to become a Park agent for Christmas 2009. It was easy to join and i managed to get my Mum, Mother in Law and her friend onboard. I paid it off early in October and the vouchers were delivered by Special Delivery within 2weeks which was excellent. I collected payments from my customers every Friday and either used the giro slips they provide or paid it through the website with my debit card. The website is very easy to use and the payment and ordering system is secure. I only had to amend an order once and contacted the customer care team who were friendly and professional and therefore i enjoyed my experience with dealing with them.

        As a result of this i have continued with my Park this year and now have 7 customers so more commission! I enjoy using Park and all my customers have only ordered vouchers as you get back what you pay in. I feel that the hampers etc are very overpriced however i can understand why people may choose to order these as it helps to spread their payments throughout the year.

        Tip - the 45weeks starts around the 3rd week in December. If you start paying earlier then your items are most likely to be delivered early!

        Update - thank you to a lovely member who reminded me of this! My mum was dubious about me setting up as an agent with Park following the Farepark administration fiasco which led her and her customers losing thousands of pounds. Park is protected by CPA (Christmas Prepayment Association) meaning your money is full secured in the event of administration.

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          23.01.2010 19:58

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          pay in advance, shop from your armchair, delivered to your door, no battling the crowds.

          I have to say that i don't believe that park hampers are a rip off. Anything that allows families to budget for christmas instead of succumbing to piles of debt over the festive period can't be all bad. You can clearly see what you are paying for goods and i feel that the amount of commission that you get back is quite generous and not to mention a loyalty bonus that gets added to each year that you are with them up to fifteen years. Also no grocery shopping at the worst time of the year when that is the last thing you want to be doing, battling with the crowds why? Why,when someone else packs it all up for you and brings it to your door would you do that, and all the money that you would have spent on feeding the five thousand over the festive period can be forgotten about for the sake of a few pounds each week. NO BIG SUPERMARKET BILLS. Paying a little premium for all this peace of mind is totally worth it for me. I would recommend everyone gives it a try and i would not be without them as it really gets you in a lovely festive mood when it arrives, and a certain lovely warm glow knowing it's already paid for. The little ones love helping unpack it and their eyes light up when they see all the treats inside!

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          12.12.2009 19:29
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          This year, for the first time ever, I decided to be organised . Realising that I always struggle with budgeting over christmas when it comes to presents and food, I decided to change the way I did things . I'd buy presents online throughout the year, and for the food, I'd get a hamper .

          Now, Park has various ways of ordering a food hamper from them - you can visit the website, do it yourself through the brochure, or you can order through an agent. I chose to go through an agent, so my review will be written from this perspective .

          I was lucky in that I already knew someone who was a park agent - my local fizzy pop delivery man. I chatted to him about getting a hamper, and he gave me a park brochure to take home and have a look at, so I could decide which hampers I wanted to order . There were plenty of food hampers to suit all kinds of tastes and family sizes - small hampers of tinned goods aimed at the senior citizen eating alone, whopping great big family hampers, hampers just containing meat or freezer goods, even some for wine and sweets . There were some gifts and vouchers too, but I didn't look at these, it was the food that interested me .

          I eventually settled on a large grocery hamper, a meat hamper, and a booze hamper, and my agent came and calculated how much this would all cost a week - it came to £13.50, something I could easily afford to pay each week. He came reliably to my door at just after four pm on a tuesday as he was doing his fizzy pop round, and was always happy to take a little more money so I could pay off faster, or to collect double the next week if I couldn't pay it one week. I was given a stamp for every quid I paid,which I stuck onto a card - he explained that this was so he could keep track of who had paid what, as he put all the hamper money into an account and then paid Park in October. I thought this was a good arrangement, and he told me that should Park go bust (as farepak did a couple of years ago) then all the money would be refunded directly from his account.

          Some time into the year, my fridge freezer broke . I didn't know how long it would take me to replace it, since I am on a low income, and I spoke with my agent about it . I asked him if I could drop the meat hamper from my order, since I could no longer be sure of having sufficient space to store it - he was more than happy to do this, and worked out my reduced payment amount . He also asked me if I really wanted the booze hamper - he'd worked out how much the actual drink would cost from the supermarket, and showed me it would actually be better to buy the booze myself, especially as many supermarkets have special offers on at christmas . I agreed, and was then only paying for one hamper, with my payments now down to just £2 a week (since I'd paid a lot towards the hamper already!).

          I actually paid my hamper off early, I was finished paying in August, and was told to hang onto my stamped payment card until the very beginning of October. He then collected my completed card, and a few weeks later, he and a friend came and delivered my hamper, which came in two large cardboard boxes. These boxes looked rather small to contain all my grocery items, but when I opened them, they had obviously been packed by someone very skilled, with every inch of space utilised. There was a printed list in each box saying what each one should contain, along with a phone number to ring if there were any comments or complaints .

          I had none - everything that should have been there was- not a tin was dented, not a label was torn, and my cupboards were stuffed to the brim . All in all a very positive experience .

          There are a couple of downsides to Park Hampers, although I think these apply to all hamper companies . Firstly, the cost of the hamper is always going to be more than the cost of buying the items in a supermarket - you do pay extra for the convenience of getting items paid off in advance . Also, there are always going to be a couple of things in the hamper you don't want - in my case savoury rice, picalilli, and crinkle cut beetroot . These all have long dates on them though, so I'll be keeping hold of them until my daughters next harvest festival .

          Also, I think if you buy through an agent, you need to be able to trust them . I absolutely trusted mine, he has been doing his fizzy pop round on the estate for all of the 7 years I have lived here, and was not offended in the least when I asked him what would happen to my money should Park go bust. He explained he'd been doing the hampers for around 8 years, and that he'd never had any problems . He was also very helpful in arranging a delivery time for the hamper that suited me .

          It has its good sides too, aside from those I have previously mentioned - for example, there are no credit checks, and no credit , so you're not going to end up in debt . If you find your circumstances change , you can reduce or alter your order for no charge, or cancel it altogether (which does incur a charge of either 5% or 10% depending on how late you cancel your order .)

          I have had no problems at all, and this christmas looks set to be the least stressful ever. I would very much recommend using Park Hampers . You can order the 2010 brochure from http://www.park.tv, which also has some information about how to become a Park Agent if you are interested .

          4 stars - one off for the prices being higher than I would pay in the shops!

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            19.11.2009 00:28
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            A good idea for those with little time before Christmas!

            Park Christmas Savings is an online site where you can go and buy all your Christmas shopping, including gifts, food, drink and also High Street Gift vouchers which can be spent in a large amount of shops.

            The unique thing about Park is that you can pay for your items over the year before Christmas, no credit is given to you, so no credit checks take place, and you don't have any debts after Christmas. This works by paying weekly or monthly from the date you order the items right through to mid November for gifts and vouchers and December for food and drink. You will get your items as soon as you have paid up, or if you pay up halfway through the year, you can have them when you want nearer to Christmas.

            Park is great in that you don't have to get caught up in expensive debts after Christmas as everything is paid for beforehand, so you can do all your Christmas shopping in January for the following December!

            If by the time you get to the end of the payment plan and you haven't paid up, and cannot afford to pay up, you can choose a lower priced item so you are not losing out as such, just not getting the same size hamper etc. Which I think is a great idea!

            A couple of downsides:

            The hampers do work out more expensive than it would be to buy the bits seperately in the shops, and also you tend to get a lot of things you don't actually want (like jams and tins which you'll never use and don't usually buy!).

            Another downside is that if the company is to go under, and go bankrupt (like a similar company did a couple of years ago), you could be left out of pocket with no food or drink for Christmas! Although Park is a big company and not likely to go bankrupt, in today's financial climate you can never be too sure!!

            When I used to live with my parents, they used to get a lot of these hampers and the vouchers every year, they were great back then, they were then called Family Hampers, and they never had any problems them as far as I am aware!

            I also used to get little bits from them through my mum and dad, just gifts and vouchers and they always arrived in great time for Christmas with plenty of time to work out anything else you need to buy!



            All in all, I will give Park a good 7/10, I am deducting two points for the extra cost of the hampers and gifts, and another 1 for the risk of them going under and you losing your money! But it is great that you can pay for the items over the year, rather than having to put money away in savings which you can easily dip into when "needed". Personally I wouldn't be using them myself as I do find them more expensive and love shopping by eye, and picking things up as I go along through the year rather than using this service. But that is my personal preference, for those who dont have much time for Christmas shopping, those who work full time right up to Christmas etc, this is a great idea!!!

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            28.10.2009 16:13
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            Great for vouchers a little expensive for everything else.

            Park's Christmas Club gives those of us on a tight budget the option to ensure we have a fantastic christmas. The catalogue is jam packed full of toys, food, drinks, gifts and gift vouchers. You choose your items and then pay for them over 45 weeks then just before christmas you get the items you ordered.

            Whilst the vouchers such as Love 2 Shop or Arcadia come at the value of what you have paid I often find that some of the other items such as the hampers are over priced. Yes they look like they have a lot in them but going through the individual items listed there are a lot of things that I don't like or won't use but because the Hamper is tailored for everyones needs rather than an individual specification there is nothing that can be done about this. I also think that given the number of 3 4 2's and buy one get one frees in the Supermarkets would make the hampers cheaper.

            The downside with Park is that yes they are over priced but also if you get the Love 2 Shop vouchers you are limited to where you can spend them.

            They still sell though because how many of us can be trusted to start putting £5 a week in a jar and leave it there till november? I know I can't.

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              02.10.2009 23:42
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              Save Wisely, Spend Foolishly

              Love it or hate it, Christmas is there every year, just like the changing of the seasons, which are always winter in this country. Most people get to November then realise they have failed to put a single penny to one side to buy for their nearest and dearest, and the cat!

              Park offer food hampers, drink hampers, gifts and much more. I have been buying the High Street Vouchers every year for about 6 years now. Just £40 a month gets me £400 worth of vouchers to spend in a wide variety of shops including WH Smith, HMV, Debenhams who are new to accepting vouchers this year, H Samuels, Boots, Iceland and many more.

              Vouchers can also be purchased for single shops such as Marks & Spencer and come in so handy for the food at Christmas. All vouchers come in a book, similar to a cheque book and the staff at the shops will take them in exchange for goods in the shop.

              It is an excellent way of saving monthly and younger members of the family always appreciate a voucher so they can go and choose their own gifts. Much better than the obligatory pair of socks.

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                27.12.2008 23:38

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                I have learnt that you just dont buy a computer from a catalogue company. I bought mine from Great Universal, it has been back four times,not to them but to Hi Grade and it is still as bad as it was. Also the warranty has run out,am I renewing NO! I am buying a new one from guess what a computer company.Cos,fact, you may buy from the catalogue but it is not down to them to repair or replace, but the people who have built the damn thing. On the good side use Park Hampers for what they are intented and youget good value for your money and at the end of the day your bank balance is still in the black come Xmas.Merry Xmas to one and all.

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                30.09.2008 17:21
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                I think park is a bit expensive but overall is a good savings catalogue.

                Park sell all different things from toys to alcohol and hampers all you do is look through the catalogue and choose what you want to buy then send off your order form, then park get in touch with you about how much you have to pay each week as they split the overall payment down. Then each week you pay the amount, it doesn't matter if one week you can pay more or less as long as they get the total in the end. Then they send you what you have ordered at the end of the year. I have saved with park for two years in a row last year I saved up for 100 pound of high street vouchers which came in handy buying Christmas presents and I spent 45 pound on Alco pops. I received the vouchers in October which was good as it gave me plenty of time to buy things with them. Park are good at keeping you up to date with your orders, well they were with me. I didn't choose to pay by direct debit so when I had cash I would use giro slips and pay in money at the post office then at the end of the year I would have a decent amount put away to receive vouchers instead of trying to afford Christmas with nothing saved. This year I was planning on having 145pound saved but unfortunately due to money problems I had to cancel my order and I had saved 57pound, they said if I wanted a cheque it would cost me twenty pound extra so I chose to have what I had paid back in high street vouchers which were delivered to my door two weeks later. I think the catalogue is good but could have more things for sale and the prices are a bit steep. But in the long run it is worth doing as at the end of the year it helps.

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                  21.09.2007 12:20

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                  Great, i will buy them every year

                  Hi, i have been with park hampers for years now. I only save for high street vouchers, i dont get anything else.
                  I personally think that it is great. I pay my money through direct debit £10 a week. So by the time october each year comes around i will have enough saved for £550 in vouchers. Which is great when you have 3 children and a large family to buy for. They can be used in a number of different shops and i have never had any problems using them. I am happy with how it works - what you pay in you get back. Dont forget they are a business they have to make money some where ( If i tryed to save the money in my bank i will have no money saved for christmas because like alot of other people out there i am usless at saving) so doing it this way is fantastic.I have never bought a food hamper because i like to personally choose my food and the hampers have to be made up with foods to suit everyone, not just you. So inevitably there will be some food products you dont like.
                  I would recomend to any body to save for the high street vouchers, they are great.

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                  20.08.2007 21:44

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                  i've been useing park for years and never had any trouble yet and look at it this way you could've been with farepack last year and lost a lot more

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                  16.04.2007 18:40
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                  Park hampers not being helpful

                  I have just typed an email to Park hampers as I still have had nothing from them to say I have an order or that I have starting paying
                  I was a happy home farm hamper customer but they have sold to park
                  I had eventually managed to find an online copy of my order through emailing and asking them how I did this only to find that my order has completley changed to vouchers not very good to my customers who wanted christmas lights and gifts. I certainly will not be buying from them in the future

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                  02.12.2006 15:07
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                  Material wealth won't make for the perfect Christmas anyway.

                  The Boyfriend is sad this year. Littlewoods catalogue have snapped back his elastic credit rating and he will not be able to buy himself or me a) Video Games and Dvd’s that cost far more than they do in the shops or b) Clothes that don’t fit and smell of plastic. I am, on the other hand, jubilant about this. Christmas isn’t about the money (or lack of it), I will be happy just to have some time off work with the people I love and a nice dinner.

                  As we sat squished in front of the telly after work last week, he suddenly announced that he wished he’d saved through Park and could now sit back and expect his Christmas goodies. Put simply, I think the advert with the little fairy gets a lot of people thinking that.

                  This review is not intended to offend anyone, it is simply my opinion. I am aware that some of my reviews lately have bordered on the controversial but this is after all an opinion site. I have mixed feelings about this type of business. I know without it, there would be no Christmas for a lot of people, but I also wish that the customers would wake up to other means of saving.

                  The advantages of saving through these savings clubs are as follows; you can avoid large bills in the New Year and spread the cost of Christmas. That’s it.

                  The disadvantages are that it costs more in the long run and that this kind of company is notoriously unstable – it’s not a bank, it can go bankrupt and the element of risk is played down. Just look at Farepak. (It should be noted that Park have donated money to help the Farepak customers) Also, the sense of ‘saving’ is misleading, with complicated selling schemes appearing as part of the drive to increase customer base.

                  I know people who follow these schemes religiously and I’ve gone through a few phases on this. When I was a kid I thought it was a great idea, 50p a week and all this stuff at the end of it. Seemed like magic. As an idealistic teenager and early twenty something I thought those who participated should get some self control and a bank account.

                  I now realise (and I found out the hard way) that there are people out there who really shouldn’t be allowed money. And to my mind, these people make up the majority, BUT NOT ALL, of Christmas saving scheme customers.

                  Some people are so incapable of looking ahead that they spend every penny as soon as they have it. These are the same people who buy food and eat it all the same day. Who open a packet of cigarettes and smoke them all at once. Nothing lasts them and they always want everything now. If you are one of these people, then yes, a savings scheme is a much better idea than the massive amount you usually borrow on credit cards. But if you can’t manage to think ahead about anything, how will you ever manage to even enrol on this scheme? A contradiction indeed. However, if you do then that money is tied up for Christmas at least. It can't be frittered away on wine, drugs or flash living.

                  The modern mentality of wanting to constantly parade visible wealth means that most people are living beyond their means. Combine this problem with the wartime stamp saving schemes that your Granny trusted and you have Park. A few adverts in the ever earlier run up to Christmas and people are probably ringing their phones off the hooks as they realise it’ll be a bleak Christmas without new laptops and trainers for Tyrone and Shaznay.

                  Park are primarily a hamper company. They also offer high street gift vouchers and other goods along the lines of Argos type gifts. If you look on the website it’s quite apparent that the goods in the hampers cost more than they do from the supermarket. However, unless you have any special dietary requirements (i.e. not wanting to kill your kids with battery farmed junk food), the selection is good and I will say this for them – there’s everything you could need for Christmas day and you haven’t had to trawl Tesco with the possibility of forgetting any of it. The delivery convenience hyped up by Park isn’t going to rival the home delivery offered by most supermarkets but the pre-planned hampers might save some time.

                  There are all kinds of schemes run by Park for you to get more money off your Christmas shopping. These consist of pushing friends and relatives into buying through Park, not a recipe for popularity as they will realise sooner or later that you didn’t offer to help them ‘save’ out of the goodness of your heart. The maze of grammatically incorrect small print on the website leads you through the complex system of becoming an agent. “If you have been a Park Agent for 9 years [you’ll get £1 a year] and have 10 customers, you will receive a reward of £19.00 (£1 for each customer who's [sic] details you have given us). If you take this reward, plus your commission of, for example £121.50, your total will be £140.50.” Well, yippee. But only if you have enough friends and family to screw over to make that £120 commission. Otherwise your hard work will be rewarded with £19.00. You’d make more from Avon or Anne Summers parties and at least people might be interested all year round.

                  In short, they’re helping people save, but it’s Park that’ll have the best Christmas of all. At the end of the day they are a business that makes money out of people’s Christmas expectations rather than the savings scheme they are marketed as. Needless to say, I won't be joining up myself or letting the boyfriend do so. If you’re contemplating joining up, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, try and find another way to save money – it’ll save you more in the long run and it may determine whether or not you even get a Christmas.

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                    05.11.2006 01:50
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                    Park are experts in FOOD, DRINK and Vouchers... everything else is just for show.

                    I happen to like Park, they are the only company who havne't gone bust yet. Family Hampers was taken over by Park, Farepak has collapsed and now theres only really Park, I get upset reading comments like,

                    "I paid for a exspensive Gold Chain form Park and it snapped"

                    Well, my comment is simple really... what you should do is buy FOOD and DRINK from HAMPER type places... you should then buy the 'high street vouchers'.... then guess what? you can buy what ever you want form the shops that are experts in the department you need i.e. PC World - Computers, H Samual - Jewz etc. then you wont have anything to complain about!

                    Its like Pizza Hut starting to build houses... would you buy a House from Pizza Hut? NO so dont expect anything different from a HAMPER COMPANY.

                    Kind Regards

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                  • Product Details

                    For over 35 years we’ve been helping families save for a fantastic Christmas. Owned by Park Group plc, the business has grown from a small venture selling hampers to being the UK’s number 1 Christmas Savings Club. Park has successfully expanded its range of hampers, gifts and vouchers and we launched our very own voucher – The High Street Gift Voucher – back in 1982, which is now the UK’s leading multi-retailer voucher.