Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Repost - Anybody Else Ripped off by Iain Sinclair Design in the UK?

I very, very rarely re-post something in its entirety, but this one seems to warrant re-posting.  Last August, I posted the original, which I'm going to copy below, and then add a few thoughts after that:

Anybody Else Ripped Off By Iain Sinclair Design?

Back in February, somebody sent me an offer for a new Iain Sinclair design of a credit card knife (this one, I think).  I was taken by it as a nifty toy and eventually ordered two - one for each of us.  At $16 each, not a terrible expense.  Allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery.  As we've now hit almost five months, 24 weeks, and nothing but repeated "so sorry, but we're delayed" responses, I think it's time to admit it's probably a ripoff and I'm out my $32. [Note: this was last August, it's now closer to 15 months and probably a dozen emails to them. - SiG]

In June I inquired again and was told they were on track to complete all the back orders by the end of July.  I asked about cancelling the order, and was then introduced to the grim reality of this particular situation.  See, my card was charged back in February.  The Sinclair Design rep says they've changed credit card systems and can't do a refund.  The card company says the deadline for that was a couple of months after purchase.  But the knives are available, they're just apparently not shipping to individuals.  You can buy packs of them on eBay.

In the intervening months, I've seen credit card knives at gun shows for $10 and they're not exactly hard to come by.  I didn't get one at the shows because of the long standing order. 

So I thought I'd ask you, dear readers.  Anyone else been ripped off by these guys?  Anyone else know anything else about the company?  It's hard to fathom why an honest seller with products to sell would take over five months to ship.  Could they have expected a few hundred sales and got a million?  Way more than they could handle?

Although this post is eight months old, it's unique in getting comments fairly regularly.  It received three comments in February, two in March and four since April 1. 

Iain Sinclair Design has a slick website, but judging by the feedback I've gotten, they're either rather incompetent at running a business or just plain petty criminals.  I'm assuming it's the second option: petty criminals.  After all, if you want to steal money, this is a pretty effective way to do it.  You sell something on the promise it will ship as soon as prototyping is done, charge the credit card number immediately and never ship.  If the customer inquires, politely explain you're having some delays and you'll be shipping Real Soon Now, all the while charging more credit cards.  By the time the customer decides it's fraud, they have a real problem.  Dealing with international payments, multiple credit card handling services, and other ways to tangle the trail makes it hard for the customer to do anything.  How much do you need to spend to get your $16 back?  Faced with large costs to recover a small loss, most people give up and swear never to buy from the company.  I'm not proud to say I gave up. 

Basically, it's easier to steal $10 1000 times than $10,000 once. If you get a supply of $10 bills, people are going to complain and post angry comments, but they're probably not going to make a big deal of it.  If you steal $100 or $1000, folks will probably call the police.

But all that is offset by the fact that there are dozens of entries for Iain Sinclair knives on eBay.  Clearly they sell to someone.  Do they just rip off small foreign orders, or only sell to bulk buyers, or what?  Is this number of complaints I can see just a small random sample and they're really just wonderful folks?  That doesn't make me feel any better about being out $35 for two of these.   The website shows a Cardsharp 4, a $90 version that looks as nice as can be.  Would I buy one?  Hell no. 

To keep a clear conscience, all I can say is DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE FOLKS!!   Or, at the very least, don't do business from outside the UK.  If you're in the UK, maybe even the EU (sorry, don't know exactly what that relationship is), it might be easier for you to get resolution.  If you're in the States or probably anywhere else: don't do it, man. 

There are always scammers and ripoff artists out there, and it's always wise for the buyer to beware - caveat emptor.  I should point out that my order was in response to an email offer from someplace in the gun culture, so I was inclined to trust them (but I don't remember whom it was or have records...).  So you can't necessarily trust a seller even if they come from a source you might trust. 

I'm blessed enough to host a thousand readers a day coming through here.  Perhaps there's someone coming here to read who can be a pain in the ass for Iain Sinclair Design in London.  In my opinion, they deserve it.


  1. Yeah, I remember that post, as I thought it was a nifty little product, too.

    At least with eBay/PayPal, you can (usually) get your money back without too much hassle.

  2. Are you sure those eBay knives are genuine Iain Sinclair knives or "Iain Sinclair-like" knives? IIRC, there are a couple generations of the real thing, could eBay sellers be sourcing from earlier gens?

  3. I remember when you posted I thought they were cool and ordered a half dozen. They showed up without incident and I have one on my desk as we speak.

    However, it looks like I bought off ebay, not off the manufacturers website. I might add that they were about half the price on ebay ....

  4. try bombarding their twitter
    i ranted on how they are a scam on every comment and i actually had the "real" manager send me the refund thru paypal
    this was four months after unsuccessively drilling them by email

  5. The thieves at Sinclair Design Ltd do do not only limit their criminal activity to individual buyers but to distributors as well. I was a distributor for them in Japan until they robbed me of about $5,000 USD. After about 1 year of chasing my money and endless excuses and outright lies, which I have email records of and will publish soon, Grant Sinclair, the thief in charge, even made the laughable comment that he was going to get a tax rebate in a couple weeks and I should wait until then as he might be able to pay me some from that. That was about a month ago. Never ceases to amaze me the gall that some people have. the Madoff's of this world just have no sense of right and wrong. Honesty and integrity are just alien concepts to them. Conveniently, the sales agent at the company left for another job before I realized what was happening and didnt bother explaining why. Yet the Museum of Modern Art proudly displays Iain Sinclair's products.

  6. I bought the 60£ aluminium version of the knife. Guess what, never received it. I got about 10 mails saying that I will be refunded, but no refund so far. I am located in Germany but even from here it is impossible to get the money back. Sure, a lawyer will help but I will have to spend way more than 60 pounds.

  7. Does anybody have contact info other than email? I would like to get on the phone with someone but cannot find a number. It's been over a year since I placed my order.. Even paid for express shipping at the time -_-

  8. I placed an order in October last year for 5 Cardsharp Classic at £5 each. I've waited since. I asked for a refund, in their reply they claimed problems because of changing transfer routines. I think the company went tits up and is now a post box scam operation.

  9. I too fell for the scam. Ordered the aluminum version well over a year ago. Same numerous excuses etc. that everyone else has listed. How is it possible that this 'company' and website is not shut down? It seems like there are more than enough people that got ripped off for the EU to prosecute these criminals. I have over 20 emails from them with promises and excuses. I would be more than willing to participate in taking action.

  10. Hi, my order was placed on February 2014 I've sent several e-mail since then . they even offered a refund. sometimes I remember of them and search the web for news ( was expecting that the company closed). the thing that really upset me is that they're still in business. I'm pretty shure that if I'd send a complain by e-mail they would answer politely, as usual.

  11. They reply politly but this will not get me a refund.

  12. I found out about this issue too late. I ordered mine about a month back, and even emailed them since I received no update. I kept hoping it wasn't a scam, but alas! They don't even have the decency to reply. I'll try for a refund, but I'm not too hopeful.

    On a side note, does anyone know of similar products that aren't cheap knockoffs?

  13. Just thought I would add on. Unfortunately, I am victim as well.

    I purchased 12 knives, because I already had a couple, loved them and thought of getting some as christmas gifts.

    My order totalled about $225 USD. I then went through the EXACT same story as you...delays in making them, new billing system, etc. They offered to give me a refund via paypal, but when I accepted the offer, I never heard back.

    I then messaged them through their cancel order page, and got a nice polite reply back saying I'll get a refund ASAP, and never heard back.

    I have since found two of their employees, and "Grant Sinclair" on LinkedIn, as well as one of them on Facebook. I am not trying to contact them through there, as well as spamming their email account demanding my refund with no luck.

    I'm going to start spamming their twitter and facebook about how they are a scam maybe I'll get lucky like the other guy.

    I ordered my knives over a year ago, and have yet to make any progress. There goes 225 bucks.

  14. I was able to track down a phone number but have only been able to get the answering machine. I suggest everyone call to request their refunds. The number is +44-1633-400509.

    My best guess is that the company is basically bankrupt and can not afford another production run until more orders come in. So they are most likely juggling between refunding and manufacturing with what little money I am assuming they have. That is the only thing I can think of that would explain this awful business practice.

  15. I have found several German shops who are also offering the knifes but all of them can not deliver as they have no stock. One had a expected delivery date of week 24 but they changed it to not applicable.

  16. Very interesting. Took some time but I tracked down this webpage

    Notice the link to which forwards to the cardsharp page. looks like all the family's there.

    Iain Sinclair himself has closed his personal business (or had it closed for him?). His son? Grant opened Iain Sinclair Design Ltd., which is still active.
    Wonder how Grant's son feels about his liar and cheater father.

    Here is the trademark name for Eon (the light sold by Sinclair)

    The address is Sinclair's home address, which was also his business address before the business went bankrupt.

  17. "I too fell for the scam. Ordered the aluminum version well over a year ago. Same numerous excuses etc. that everyone else has listed. How is it possible that this 'company' and website is not shut down?"

    I agree and I;m right there with you.

    At a minimum, it would be great if there site redirected to a an explanation of what is really going on. At this point, I would be okay with them saying that they are out of money and no orders are going to ship, rather than just hearing nothing for over a year and a half and me just growing tired of wondering.

    I like Amazon, they don't charge you until your product ships. You never run the risk of paying for a product you aren't going to get.

  18. I'm glad not to be the only one who fell for this rip-off.

    It doesn't matter where you live (USA, UK or EU), since I live in Europe and had to go through the same story as you guys.

    I wrote them multiple times, asking for a refund. But all I got were those cheap excuses (back log, copyright issues,....). I set them a deadline of 2 weeks for my refund. Apparently they didn't care either.

    So I filed a complaint in association with the European Consumer Centre who work Under the supervision of the European Union.

    I told them the whole story and provided them with every kind of information about Iain Sinclair. I even included this blogpost in hope that it will help them making progress.

    Let's hope this will get the ball Rolling

  19. I suppose the company is dead. Litterally! The two employees (Alison Tomlin & Alex-Marie Aherne) to who I've written numerous Emails don't seem to work for IainSinclair anymore.
    Or at least that's what I can say about Alison Tomlin.
    She worte in on her LinkedIn profile.

    Here are their LinkedIn profile :

    Alison Tomlin:
    General Manager
    Iain Sinclair Design
    July 2012 – June 2014 (2 years )

    Alex-Marie Aherne :
    PA to Director
    Iain Sinclair Design
    August 2014 – Today (1 year 1 month)

    Funny enough that Iain Sinclair still uses their names/signatures in e-mails. I've done some research

    As for Alex-Marie Aherne, she’s also working as some kind of hair-stylist or something. Either she resigned from Iain Sinclair, or actually has 2 jobs.

    I even found Alex-Marie Aherne’s facebook profile. She seems to post stuff quite often. According to her LinkedIn profile she’s still part of IainSinclair. Maybe she knows more about what’s going on. Should we go as a bull on the gate an bomb her with questions, or rather don’t get in touch with her at all?

  20. Wish I'd found this before I thought I was doing the right thing in ordering through the website and not getting something from eBay! Count me as another highly frustrated should-have-been customer. Thanks for the informative post.

  21. Fuck. The same for me. Ordered in June. after 8 weeks I asked and got a polite mail saying I#m still in the timeframe. Now 20 mails and no answer. 3 Month of waiting and I will never get my Cardsharp4 (65 pounds) I guess.

  22. I'm a retailer and never saw the $700 worth of goods I ordered and paid for in 2014...

    I'm posting all their contact details I know from the invoice I recieved in case someone found them useful.

    10TH - 15TH FLOOR
    TEL ++44 (0)1633 400 509

    Bank name: HSBC Bank Plc
    Bank Address: 62 George White Street
    Account Name: Iain Sinclair Design Ltd
    Sort code: 40-05-15
    Account number: 73410370
    IBAN: GB64 MIDL 4005 1573 4103 70
    Cabot Circus
    Bristol BS1 3BA


  23. Information and financial reports of Ian Sinclair can be found here. It seems they have not gone bancrupt yet:

  24. Information and financial reports of Ian Sinclair can be found here. It seems they have not gone bancrupt yet:

  25. Bought the cardsharp 2.2 in november 2015. Havent heard from them, they arent replying to my emails. Might contact Paypal and show them this page and get my money back. Thanks guys!

  26. I was ripped off too by Iain Sinclair! I consider myself lucky since I only lost $21 but I called my credit card company too late and can not dispute the charge since I placed the order June 1, 2015. Iain Sinclair has never responded to any email I have ever sent and their phone number does not work! DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THEM AS THEY ARE ALSO RIPPING OFF RETAILERS!

  27. anybody else know anything new? I was ripped off as well. Bought the expensive cardsharp 4 aluminum (70€ + shipping) First got friendly mails and then no response. I'm not only pissed off by losing the money but also because I really wanted that knife. It is so beautiful. We have April 2016 now and the website is still running and you can still preorder the knifes. How is this possible? What's funny though is, that it now says "your credit card won't be charged until the item is shipped". I mean, what can I do? I still would like to get this Knife. Anybody any advice? Glenn

    1. I'm afraid I don't. I got an email from them in January saying,

      If you already have an order outstanding with us (you are our priority and there is no need to re-input your order), please bear with us whilst we get over our backlog and start packing your order (we are a small team and have been busy fine tuning our manufacturing infrastructure together with implementing more effective shipping logistics).

      I never believed it but kept that email, just in case. It's the first thing I've heard from them in around two years.

  28. As a distributor I have been burned with £4000 worth of goods, Grant Sinclair has now stopped answering his Skype and any phone number I had for him, this is a total ripoff I am now looking for a good debt collecting company to send after him.

  29. I got burned with £4000 from a wholesale order, I am now looking to hire a good debt collecting company, if anyone wants to join in with a claim let me know at

  30. Well, it seems that their website is down. I checked it yesterday and today.
    Anyone has any new updates on this?
    On a side note, Grant Sinclair started on a new project called Poco a while ago, and also set up a company called Sinclair Mobile Ltd.

  31. I also had this problem (one more !), but it was only two knives, baught 14 months ago... A friend made me discover theese knives, so I used the website that was written on them to order ! He got them from a chineese website, they were really cheap and probably fake (there is few images to compare on internet) but the website written on them was the good one...

  32. Why hello there, I just received a new email from them, apparently, an invoice.
    I ordered their Cardsharp during March 2016. It's using their new ordering system, so I didn't pay anything yet.
    Today, they just sent me a PayPal Invoice with my order details. This invoice is sent from Sinclair Fulfilment LTD,
    The Island House, Midsomer Norton
    BA3 2DZ
    United Kingdom

    I still haven't paid them anything yet, because their website is so dodgy, and there's no communication or explanation whatsoever about their inconsistent attitude and disappearance.

    Anyone else received their PayPal Invoice?

    1. Personally, I haven't and you're the first person to comment here that has heard anything. Keep us posted on whether or not you get it, please.

  33. Another victim of this ripoff here. I bought a Cardsharp 4 from their US destributor. Neither that guy or the Sinclair web site will reply to emails or phone calls. It's total crap.

    Meanwhile, there are Cardsharp 4 reviews on Youtube... How did those people get the knives? Well, one guy said he got it via Optics Planet. That's cute since someone else I know also tried to get it through Optics Planet. They took his money, said the Cardsharp 4 would be coming in within the next few weeks and then nothing happened. He couldn't get refunded and now the Cardsharp 4 page on Optics Planet says it's discontinued.

    I don't know what to say except that I'm mad.

  34. I just tracked this page down...should have googled searched the company before I placed my order in November of 2014! Got the usual "it will take 6-8 weeks to ship" First, then the "we apologize for the delay"and by February of 2015 received no response to any of my emails. Tried replying to the original invoice email abs got a kickback that the email address doesn't exist. I filled out the contact us form on their website so it's a wait now to see if I even get a respouse. I'm in the US and honestly don't even know ow how much the thing cost as the invoice is in £ not $. But it was around $15. I don't even care about it now that I know ow it was a scam.

  35. Iain Sinclair website boasts of " Iain Sinclair designs are in the permanent collection of several museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Science Museum of London." How about since we cant contact the dirty robber himself or his accomplices in thievery including alison tomlin, we start contacting these museums and get this thieving family's products out of the display cases. Threaten these museums with negative press coverage of them proudly displaying the creations of a family that steals from thousands of people and lies about it.

  36. I just want to say thanks to you guys for posting all of this as I was about to place an order on Grant Sinclair's website and now definitely will not be doing so! Sorry to you all... but thanks for sharing!

    1. Out of the 100+ comments to these two posts (the original and this repost), I think you're the first person who has said we've saved them the money. That's nice to hear!

  37. I ordered several credit card knives from them. I kept email them and have had a couple of response that they are working on my order and keeping up with the demand. But then I never got what I payed for. They stopped responding to my emails. Not a company to deal with. They will rip you off.

  38. Never got my order and they stop responding to my emails as well. Definitely a Scam

  39. I ordered products worth over 100 USD in 2013. Same story as all the rest. No products, no refund. Wish I had seen any pages like this then. Wish I could've reported it then, too, so others would've known the truth.