Who are Splatt.co? (and why we wouldn't buy from them)
The interwebs have been abuzz with chat about Splatt.co lately with vibrant discussion on HUKD and MSE (the MSE discussion has recently been removed). The Guardian published a consumer article on Saturday about the company with the conclusion that they wouldn't feel comfortable purchasing from Splatt.co.
So why the interest? Well it seems this company has sprung up in the last few weeks sending catalogues to households all over the UK promising super cheap pricing on a selection of extremely popular Christmas items like UGGs and iPads. For example splatt.co is currently offering the Apple 16GB iPad for £329 (Apple sells this for £429).
The problem is there doesn't seem to be any trading history behind this company and there seems to be a bad precedent of unknown companies springing to life pre-Christmas, sending out loads of special offer catalogues… and then disappearing shortly after with consumers facing an empty wallet and an empty postbox.
The website, splatt.co, claims to be operated by "Splatt Group, 34 South Molton Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 5RG" in their Terms & Conditions and also the whois.co shows the same details registered for the domain. Doing a quick online search shows the address is an instant office or virtual office provider. Bitterwallet visited the offices earlier today, to be told by staff that splatt.co are categorically not based there in any way.
A search for "Splatt Group" at Companies House turns up no companies with that registered named. A Splatt Limited however does exist. This company was registered in 2001 but is currently dormant according to their 2001 filings at Companies House. We wouldn't have made the connection (the Guardian for example reckoned they weren't related) however a Google cache of the site Terms and Conditions page shows Splatt.co used to state they were registered under company number 04296508 which is "Splatt Limited". This information has since been removed (which incidentally is also a breach of the Companies Act 2006 which requires all limited companies to place their company registration number, place of registration and registered office address on its website. A site search turned up no other pages with a company registration number).
It's possible Splatt.co made a mistake in writing this (which wouldn't explain why it was deleted with no replacement), or they have purchased the dormant company, or this once dormant company has sprung to life, or they were attempting to associate themselves with Splatt Limited. We really can't say and the current Companies House Appointment report for Splatt Limited shows only the original two directors who are only appointed to Splatt Limited and not other companies.
The Splatt.co site also fails to include their registration number or information for the Data Protection Act which is required for all UK registered companies dealing with substantial personal data. There is also no VAT number displayed on the Splatt.co site which is the norm for UK trading companies.
So does the old maxim, "Too good to be true" apply in this case? To be honest, we can not definitively say Splatt.co is a scam, there's just not enough information out there or enough time for people to find if they've been ripped off. As the company is new we also haven't found any happy customers with fulfilled orders.
However, we would say we would never feel comfortable recommending a purchase from a brand-new online store with incomplete registration details, a lack of customer feedback, and super cheap popular brand items shortly before Christmas. The fact that nobody connected with the company can be found at the only physical address associated with their operations - that doesn't fill us with confidence either.