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Lastminute refunds people who never bought shares

Another admin cock-up

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Lastminute.com has cocked-up again, this time refunding cash to individuals who never bought shares. As part of the ongoing fiasco, some investors who cancelled their share applications at the last minute have nevertheless received share certificates and refund cheques from the company. Many individuals pulled out after only being issued with 35 shares, worth £133. But another "administrative error" at IRG, the online retailer's registrar, meant cheques were sent out before anyone realised. These lucky punters, laughing all the way to the bank, have been unable to stop spouting off about the debacle on the Web, today's Times reports. One, using the name Lorraine Turner, told members of the Interactive Investor International bulletin board that she had stopped her £2,000 cheque, only to get a refund for £1,868. Surjit Randhawa claimed a similar windfall: "I applied for the share offer along with some other members of my family. When I was told of my share allocation, I immediately stopped my cheque," he said. "I was surprised to see that I was sent a cheque back for the unused amount". A representative for lastminute today admitted that a total of 5,000 cheques sent to the company by would-be investors had either been cancelled or had bounced. She was unable to say how many people had been sent money that shouldn't have received it. "We don't have that figure. But we think it's fairly minimal," she said. IRG, the registrar company that processed the flotation, has been blamed for the farce. The company, which decided to give all applicants just 35 shares after the lastminute float was wildly oversubscribed, also yesterday admitted sending cheques out to genuine investors which bounced. These mistakes were due to "administrative errors" at IRG. What with cash gifts and bouncing cheques, it comes as little surprise that some investors are still waiting for the cheques and share certificates they are entitled to. "IRG regrets that owing to administrative errors on its part there have been delays in some investors receiving their shares and cheque refunds," it said. IRG apologised for the many administrative errors, and said it was "taking immediate steps to rectify the situation." Lastminute share price was today down 20 pence at 202.5 pence.® Related stories Lastminute in bounced shares debacle Now lastminute is worth £526 million 250,000 flock to register for Lastminute shares

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