Wrapit: 'gets relaunch'

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

The Jewish owner of an online wedding gift firm that went bust in August last year has offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the hundreds of couples who never received presents. This week the company, Wrapit, relaunched under a new name.

Pepita Diamand, who founded Wrapit eight years ago, said: “I’m sorry for customers who were affected and I well understand that the re-emergence of the company leaves them with a sour taste in their mouths.” She said: “I was invited to participate in the new business and flatly refused.”

Two thousand couples, many of them Jewish, and 72,000 guests, found that their presents went undelivered when Wrapit ceased trading, owing more than £6 million to creditors.

But now a new company called Please&thankyou, run by four of the same people involved in Wrapit, and using the same offices, is now in business. The Sunday Times said the new firm had exploited a legal loophole called a “pre-pack”, allowing an insolvent company to sell its best assets before going into administration, and then buying back the firm, cleared of much of the debt. But Please&thank you categorically deny this claim.

Peter Gelardi, managing director at Wrapit, is now the Please&thankyou chairman, with his son Nicolas and two other ex-Wrapit employees running the business.

Danny and Amanda Kessler married in Manchester last March, but received no presents when Wrapit collapsed.

Mr Kessler said: “It’s a disgrace if people can do this. They should first consider the thousands of people who have had their first year of marriage tainted by this debacle.”

Mr Gelardi said that 80 per cent of Wrapit’s creditors received a full refund, and expressed sympathy with the remaining 20 per cent.

Insisting that Please&thankyou was not a wedding list service, he said that the new firm was “trying to spread a little joy instead of being a burden on the state”.

Last updated: 5:12pm, March 26 2009