A REALITY star who claims they're owed £40k from customers who ignored a desperate plea after his wife died is now taking drastic action.
Chris Jeffery, 65, who is well-known for appearing on hit Channel 5 shows The Yorkshire Vet and Celebs on the Farm, has told of his struggles after being left thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Recently widowed, the Yorkshire farmer and businessman made the tough decision to sell his farm and pet supplies shop Green's Country Store.
In an emotional letter sent out at the end of May to businesses who still had outstanding fees, Chris attached a picture of his late wife Kate, 65.
After managing the small business for 20 years, Chris explained losing Kate to breast cancer in January was the reason behind his choice.
He is now threatening to name and shame businesses who have failed to pay-up and have ignored his notice.
READ MORE ON TV NEWS
Celeb Masterchef fans horrified as star serves ‘cat sick’ to judges
Georgia Harrison fears shamed Stephen Bear will NEVER pay £207k damages
Chris claims that the farm supply store allows farmers to open an account and pay for products a month after purchase.
After selling the shop, Chris invoiced 400 farming business owners who still had outstanding costs on their store account and requested payment within a month.
The dad-of-two said he included a photograph of himself and Kate alongside the invoice, as well as an "emotional" letter thanking farmers for their custom and explaining his wife's recent passing.
However, more than two months later, Chris alleges that he is still waiting on a whopping £40,000 from 100 businesses who have ignored him.
Most read in News TV
The Apprentice's Lord Sugar splits from another young entrepreneur
Corrie's Catherine Tyldesley hits back in row over 'asking baker for freebies'
Towie's Junaid reveals ‘most dramatic series ever’ as he opens up on feuds
BBC News reporter apologises after football fan's foul-mouthed chant live on air
The Celebs on the Farm judge says that he has been phoning and writing letters to the unpaying customers ever since – but is yet to receive a response.
Chris said he has been left feeling "angry and upset" by the payment nightmare and took to Facebook threatening to out those who owe.
He said: "My wife died in January and I've been through an awful time.
"We've been in business 20 years – they all know us and they all know Kate passed away.
"On the 31st May, I put a letter in with every invoice explaining that I'd sold the business and Kate had passed away.
"I said that due to Kate passing away, please could you pay me by the 30th June as I want to wind the business up because it's very difficult for me dealing with all this.
"I think I've had two people call me. About 300 have paid properly, but this was about a hundred – a quarter of them – not paying.
"I won't say that they won't pay – they probably will pay eventually. But I've written quite an emotional letter to them, with a picture of me and Kate with a big thank you note on it.
"That letter went out with every invoice, and I think in that case it's really poor of them that they can't respond.
"At least telephone me. If they have trouble and they can't pay, fine, just let me know. It's really, really bad form.
"It's a hassle, and it really is something at this time when I'm on my own and I'm still grieving for my wife. I feel very angry and upset with them for not paying me on time."
I haven't been sleeping very well at all because I'm worrying about chasing this money
Chris said the stress is adding to his mental and emotional suffering.
He added: "I haven't been sleeping very well at all because I'm worrying about chasing this money.
"I just felt so cross on Sunday night, and posted on Facebook saying that if they don't pay me, I'll name and shame them all next week.
"I've had one or two friends private message me saying, 'Chris, for goodness' sake, don't do this, you'll get into trouble'.
"I said, 'well why shouldn't I?' Why should I not let everybody else know what these people are doing to me?
"Because if they're doing it to me, I guarantee they'll be doing it to other businesses as well and other people need to know and these people need to be taught a lesson."
The frustrated farmer claims that the confrontational status forced the majority of business owners to clear their debts – but he is still waiting on some to cough up the five-digit sum.
He added: "A few people have actually paid [since the Facebook post], maybe ten or a dozen. It's not a big amount.
"The farm side [of our business] had traditionally been booking onto an account.
"A farmer would come in and buy a product and we would send him a bill at the end of the month, and he would usually pay by the end of the following month.
"They generally do pay to be fair. But then you have about 100 a month who withhold payment for at least one more month if not two.
"This puts massive pressure on cash flow because obviously we as a business have to pay our suppliers on time.
"It's highlighting, now I've sold the business, how many people have been doing this each month and how we've been letting them get away with it.
"Kate and I worked seven days a week and put as much effort into this as we possibly could to give them a good service, and now they're doing this to us. It's really, really unfair.
"It's very selfish and very poor. These farmers will have you believe that they don't have any money, you go onto the farm and see brand-new vehicles and they're all at the local shows.
Read More on The Sun
Martin Lewis’ MSE reveals how to get free food at McDonald’s – fans will love it
Urgent warning over £2 garden mistake – and it could cost you £100,000
"There may be a small percentage that do really struggle, but I've told them that if they're really struggling, they can ring me and let me know."
Chris said he's grateful for how many years the business had been open as the problem could have "bankrupt them" if they were just starting out.
Source: Read Full Article