Struggling internet wedding list company Wrapit has gone into administration, leaving 2,000 newlyweds without gifts and forcing them to explain to their 100,000 wedding guests they had would have to add their names to the creditors' list if they wanted to recoup their money.
Founded in 2000, the company was set up to enable wedding guests to buy presents from an online list. Wrapit dealt with around 2,500 to 3,500 lists a year, but made a loss for the last six years and had problems honouring orders worth £3.5million since 2006.
Managing director Peter Gelardi apologised to couples in writing yesterday, saying the company's bank, HSBC, had withdrawn access to Wrapit's credit and debit card income. The bank's refusal to support the company any further was the final blow after months of decline in spending fuelled by the credit crunch.
HSBC said it would make sure that the guests who used their credit cards
to buy the present would receive a refund, but this would leave the majority who paid by debit card or cheque to lose their money. The only hope to recover their money for this second group would be to register as creditors with the administrator KPMG and start a claims process without any real guarantee of success.
Wrapit's customers were shocked at the move, some saying they felt horribly guilty because they had chosen the company and their guests' hard-earned money had been used to pay Wrapit's debts. Others said they did not really know what to do as they had not taken out wedding insurance
, which can sometimes provide cover for suppliers going bust.
"There's about £3,000 worth of presents of our list bought for us by family and friends and we have received none of it," Charlie Coney, who got married in June, told the Guardian.
"It sounds prosaic, but these are the sort of things we will spend the rest of our lives using and would have provided memories of who was at our wedding. Now we will have to ask all our guests to get their money back, set up another list and go through it all again."
In his letter to customers, Mr Gelardi wrote: "HSBC now have it within their power to minimise the pain caused to 2,000 couples – and, probably, 100,000 of their guests – and ensure that no Wrapit customer loses any money and, as things stand, they will not take it."
A HSBC spokesperson refuted any suggestions that the bank was responsible for Wrapit's situation: "We did what we could to help Wrapit and it certainly and quite obviously is not in our interests for it to go into administration. Faced with its worsening financial situation we had no other choice."
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