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Emma Pinfold and the "Bond Street" brand

Published on June 3, 2024

I was approached in May 2024 with an interesting story about a company called Bond Street Boutique Limited, run by a woman called Emma Thorne Pinfold. Indeed, it turns out this wasn’t the first company she had set up, and that the “Bond Street” “brand” appears to have been passed around a number of different companies. Nor was she always known as Emma Pinfold; her previous names have included Emma Thorne Pinfold, Emma Thorne Povey, and Emma Povey.

All of this data was obtained freely from Companies House and public records. The companies in question are:

All of these companies operate on a consignment model. This is where the company acts as an agent on behalf of people looking to sell goods. The company sells the goods to their own customers, taking a commission in the process.

For example, the consignor (the person selling the goods) might want to sell a Chanel handbag valued at £2,000. The company would agree to act as the consignor’s agent and sell the bag to its own customers via its website for 20% commission meaning that the company keeps £400 and pays £1,600 to the consignor. Until the bag is sold and the money is transferred across, the consignor still owns the bag.

In this instance, according to various consignors I spoke to, Bond Street would agree to sell the bag on behalf of whoever, paying no money up front, and the person who owned the goods would only get the money for it once it had been sold. They could ask for the goods to be returned, subject to a contractual exclusivity period and usually the right for the company to reduce the selling price (and the amount owed to the consignor) subject to agreement.

In this report, I am going to use the term consignor to refer to people who are selling their goods to the company, and the term customer to refer to people who are buying goods from the company.

Names have been changed for the purpose of this article and have been marked with a * to indicate that.

As the allegations raised to me span all three companies, I am going to group them together under the “Bond Street’’ brand. Oftentimes it has been difficult to work out which legal entity is being used at any given moment: some of the documentation I’ve seen refers to one company, other documentation refers to a different company, yet more mention trading names that are also the names of some of the legal entities above, and so on.

The allegations mostly focus on two key areas:

  1. An allegation of theft and/or fraud because disgruntled consignors complain that they are still owed money for goods they sold to the company either in full or in part. Some of them have complained that goods they sold have since gone missing never to be mentioned again or have allegedly been “stolen” during a break-in so they don’t even have the option of collecting their goods and selling them elsewhere.

  2. An allegation from disgruntled customers that they have been sold counterfeit items by the company.

Bond Street To Your Street Limited is currently in liquidation while Bond Street Boutique faces an active proposal to strike-off from Companies House, seemingly on the basis that the confirmation statement hasn’t been filed on time.

It is interesting to note the chronology of events for these companies.

Bond Street To Your Street Limited was incorporated on 4 November 2021 and its sole director and person with significant control is Emma Thorne Pinfold. It entered the liquidation process on 18 May 2023.

Bond Street Boutique Limited was incorporated on 2 March 2023 and its sole director and person with significant control is also Emma Thorne Pinfold. The confirmation statement became overdue after 15 March 2024 and remains unfiled as of 1 June 2024.

Prelovable Limited was incorporated on 9 March 2024 and its sole director and person with significant control is also Emma Thorne Pinfold. This company was set up after the confirmation statement was overdue for Bond Street Boutique, in a move that suggests that Bond Street Boutique will be left to be compulsorily dissolved without many assets remaining.

The reason that the incorporation of Prelovable Limited suggests that is because when Bond Street To Your Street entered liquidation, documents indicate that many of the company’s assets were simply transferred over to Bond Street Boutique. For example, the brand/design, the stock, the website, the customer lists, and the goodwill associated with the business. At the moment, it’s not clear how that transfer was achieved. The current liquidation documents don’t show any transfer of assets for a fair market value which would be required in this situation.

As Bond Street Boutique is now facing being struck-off by Companies House, it seems that again at least a partial transfer of assets from Bond Street Boutique to Prelovable Limited has taken place. Documents indicate that at least one customer list appears to have been transferred over, along with some of the stock from the previous company. At the moment, we simply don’t know if a fair market value was paid for these assets which would be problematic if Bond Street Boutique is subsequently dissolved or enters liquidation.

Allegations of theft and fraud

A number of disgruntled consignors have come forward to complain that they are still owed money for goods they sold to Ms Pinfold and her companies, and that they think their goods have been stolen (as the company is unable or unwilling to provide any updates on the goods) or that they’ve been defrauded out of money. I have been in touch with at least 30 people over these claims, although I am only including a few stories below.

For example, in 2022 Mary* sold three bags to Bond Street Boutique: a Louis Vuitton Vaugirard bag sold in May 2022, a pink Mulberry Lily with a chain top handle, and an oxblood Mulberry Seaton.

Ms Pinfold offered £1,500 for the Louis Vuitton, and £500 each for the pink Mulberry Lily and the oxblood Mulberry Seaton. After much prevarication, Mary* received the £1,500 for the Louis Vuitton in December 2022.

In September 2022, the two other bags were displayed as being up for sale on Instagram and/or in the Ashford outlet of Bond Street Boutique as well as on the website. Ms Pinfold then claimed that the oxblood Mulberry Seaton was stolen in a robbery at the store, and the pink Mulberry Lily was simply never mentioned again despite seemingly being sold during a live sale that Mary* was watching on social media.

When she questioned what had happened to the two missing bags, she was sent a stock sheet detailing items she had sold to Ms Pinfold and her companies from the previous year. She was never sent the correct stock sheet detailing the three bags she had actually sold in 2022, but was later told that she had received the money in October or November 2022 and that the company didn’t owe her anything. When she checked her bank statements, however, she confirmed that she in fact had not received the money and wasn’t sure why she was told that she had.

Despite sending further messages chasing up what had happened to the missing bags, Mary* never heard back from Ms Pinfold or her companies. Mary* is now considering filing a claim in the small claims court in an attempt to get her money or her goods back.

Other consignors have also reported struggling to get their money or their goods back, as well as being sent inaccurate stock sheets.

For example, Alice* claims she is owed £900 by the company that should have been paid to her in October 2023. Ms Pinfold agreed to pay £100 per week but only made 1 payment and then got angry because Alice* shared her correspondence with a friend and allegedly refused to make any further payments. According to Alice*, the company is still in possession of two of her shoes. She has requested them back but the company is now ignoring her emails.

Yet another consignor, Tamsin*, claims she is owed £2,200 from bags that were sold in October and November 2023, and that she has only been paid £390 from £2,590 of total sales. However, she was successful in getting a further 2 items she had agreed to sell to the company back in her possession.

In April 2024, another consignor, Sophie*, owed money by the company agreed a payment plan with Ms Pinfold of £100 per week which was allegedly set up as a standing order and strenuously asserted as such by Ms Pinfold. However, the payments have allegedly failed to be made and bank statements from Bond Street Boutique appear to indicate that no such standing order was set up for that customer. Sophie* is owed at least £700 and in a recent communication from February 2024, was seemingly deterred by the company from posting about the situation, with the company stating in an email that “Unfortunately, bad press will lead to a bad reputation which will lead to the store closing.” with the implication that Sophie* would then not get their money back.

Update: Sophie* has confirmed that she has since received the money she was owed. The last £110 arrived in her account on 20th May after she kept replying to Instagram stories posted by the company demanding to know where her money was. Prior to that, Sophie* claimed it was “as and when” Ms Pinfold “felt” like paying it back.

An analysis of the bank statements for Bond Street Boutique indicate that there were areas of questionable spending. For example, it’s not clear why almost £500 was spent in Waitrose within the past 6 months, or why over £2,600 was spent in supermarkets, or why over £1,000 was spent in what appear to be home furnishing stores, or why over £600 was spent on what appear to be beauty salon appointments, or why over £500 appears to have been spent on beauty products like makeup and perfume, or why £500 appears to have been spent on driving lessons, or why almost £8,000 was spent on second-hand luxury designer goods from a business in the same industry.

This is arguably money that could have gone towards paying consignors what they were owed. It is difficult to understand Ms Pinfold’s strenuous assertions to the consignors that the business was struggling and effectively in dire straits seemingly through no fault of its own when evidence of expenses like this exists, and Ms Pinfold has privately acknowledged concerns over “overspending”.

It is also difficult to understand how the company has failed to pay a number of its creditors when its turnover from March 2023 through to May 2024 appears to have been around £400,000 and of course it buys the items from consignors and sells them at a considerable markup, meaning that it is arguable that the money should have been there to pay each consignor in full as each item was sold.

Indeed, Ms Pinfold has publicly claimed to put around £50,000 a month through the business in screenshots of a live chat with Starling Bank seen by me. This is relevant because it appears Starling actually terminated her sole trader bank account with them without any notice to her, for reasons that are not immediately clear to me. That said, from the bank statements provided (of a different bank account with a different bank) of the company it’s not clear how much her claim can be relied on: the only month where turnover was over £50k for the business appears to be October 2023.

It’s also not clear how the sole trader account fits into the operation of the business and whether both the sole trader status and the company were being traded at the same time for the same business purposes.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that the business has allegedly suffered a number of burglaries and shoplifting incidents in recent years across its stores. For example, in December 2022, the company emailed consignors to inform them that the Tenterden store had suffered a shoplifting incident and that they were not insured for shoplifting, but promised to pay back consignors in full despite allegedly not being required to do so in the company’s terms and conditions.

Later emails would confirm that meetings with loss adjusters had been held and that insurance payouts would begin shortly. Many consignors have since complained that they’ve heard nothing about the insurance payouts, are still owed money, and indeed don’t even know which goods they lost during the shoplifting incident.

This seeming inability to properly track stock is concerning and comes after an admission in the same email that allegedly the company accounts were not being run properly either. It’s unclear what impact this had on the business at the time, but consignors who received the email reported feeling concerned about the professionalism and stability of the company after that, and some chose not to sell any items with them anymore.

In messages sent to Ms Pinfold by a former employee and seen by me, it’s alleged that she knew the dire financial straits of the business were down to so-called “overspending”, that she checked the bank account every day, and that the bookkeeper who prepared the accounts did her best but that it simply wasn’t possible to pay clients money they were owed because the business didn’t have the money in the account, because it was being spent, and it had apparently been that way for at least 6 months. It’s difficult to understand how this squares with Ms Pinfold’s earlier email claiming that the accounts were not properly run, if she did indeed have daily oversight of the figures. It’s also difficult to imagine how the business could carry on like normal despite seemingly knowing that there was a huge client payment backlog building up.

Another matter that angered consignors was discovering that the company appears to have made what the creditors consider to be preferential payments to Ms Pinfold and her mother who appears to have loaned or invested approximately £20,000 in the company. Both are paid £50 on what appears to be a daily standing order, although Ms Murray has occasionally been paid back more in lump sums.

Ms Pinfold appears to owe just under £13,000 in the form of a director’s loan, having paid in just over £24,000 to the company and been paid just under £37,000 by the company in payments that don’t appear to be salary, dividend, or expense repayments.

Ms Murray has been paid back just over half her loan or investment at approximately £11,580.

Many consignors owed money have complained that this is unfair treatment by the company because Ms Murray is the mother of the company’s sole director, and that they don’t see why they can’t be paid back in a similar fashion.

Ms Pinfold and her companies have since had a number of County Court Judgments registered against them by consignors who are owed money and/or their goods back. At least one CCJ has been set up with an instalment plan of £40 per month against a debt of just over £1,500 which will take just over 3 years to pay back.

These consignors have also objected to a proposal from Companies House to strike off Bond Street Boutique Limited for failing to file the annual confirmation statement. Companies House has not yet confirmed the objections have gone through, so it remains to be seen what happens to the company and whether it will be struck off.

What happened to the missing goods and why the consignors haven’t been paid their money back in full remains anyone’s guess.

Allegations of counterfeit goods

On 20 May 2024, in a local Tenterden-based Facebook group, a customer alleged that they had been sold a counterfeit Burberry bag by Ms Pinfold and her companies. They took the bag to a company that claims to be able to authenticate luxury goods like this, and the authenticity report confirmed that, according to this company, the bag was fake.

Emma Pinfold responded in the comments by claiming that it must have been sold to her company by someone else and that she unwittingly sold it on to the customer. However, previous documents and correspondence indicates that Ms Pinfold has claimed that all items are authenticated prior to being sold, so it is difficult to understand how this particular fake came to be on sale if that is the case.

Other customers have also reported a fake Canada Goose coat on sale, as well as being sold a pair of fake Chanel earrings. In response to this, Ms Pinfold has claimed that her business has a “Trading Standards warrant” and that it is “registered” to sell authentic luxury goods. It’s not clear what a “Trading Standards warrant” is or who the businesses “registered” with to sell these goods.The local Trading Standards office confirmed they don’t offer such warrants but that they have received several complaints about the company for selling allegedly counterfeit goods.

One former consignor and friend alleged that she had been with Ms Pinfold in Dubai where Ms Pinfold had stocked up on counterfeit goods seemingly intended to be sold back in the UK as genuine. Another alleged that Ms Pinfold had boasted about knowing about a woman in Essex where Ms Pinfold sourced a number of her goods, and that that woman was known for selling counterfeit goods, and that Ms Pinfold knew this but sold the goods anyway.

Indeed, this isn’t the first time that arguments over counterfeit goods have swirled around and angered Ms Pinfold. In August 2019, a former friend and customer posted on Facebook that she had bought some clearly counterfeit Louis Vuitton keyrings for £2.99 but was amazed at the quality. At that price, it is obvious that they were not genuine.

Ms Pinfold saw the post and seemingly got angry, accusing the poster of accusing Ms Pinfold of selling counterfeit goods because Ms Pinfold allegedly sold the exact same keyrings in her shop claiming they were made of genuine Louis Vuitton material, and that her keyrings were made by a local woman. It’s unclear why Ms Pinfold got so angry when the original post didn’t mention her or her business and was just remarking upon how authentic the keyring looked for that price, nor did the original post suggest that Ms Pinfold was selling counterfeit keyrings.

There is no evidence that the keyrings being sold by Ms Pinfold were counterfeit, and it’s anyone’s guess why she got so enraged by the post.

Another customer confirmed they had been sold a pair of fake Chanel earrings that they believed were genuine but later had authenticated as being fake. Indeed, a number of customers have since had jewellery bought from the company authenticated as fake.

The company also appears to have put a counterfeit Canada Goose coat up for sale at one point. This was identified as counterfeit due to the sloppy embroidery on the Canada Goose logo and confirmed by an expert as being counterfeit.

In a recent sale held on Facebook and Instagram, customers seemed wary of the steep discounts on offer, questioning how it was possible to sell a genuine full leather Burberry handbag valued at around £1,500 for just £130 or some Dior charm bracelets normally retailing around £365 for just £65. It is not clear why the business has chosen to sell these items for such a steep discount given the inherent value these items retain through resale, although there is no evidence that these items are fake and the business has continually stressed that it only sells genuine authentic luxury goods.

There have also been other controversies on social media, with one of her Facebook business pages allegedly being shut down by Facebook after complaints about selling counterfeit goods were received by leading luxury goods brands, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry. It’s unclear whether any others were shut down.

What’s striking is that the brand clearly places a lot of reliance on allegedly only selling genuine goods. For example, on its websites it mentions that items are checked for authenticity by AI software. Ms Pinfold has also previously stated that she works with the same authenticity company used by the Burberry customer mentioned above, and that the company is able to perform in-house authenticity checks to a certain level. It is therefore difficult to understand how, with everything that the brand claims to do to ensure it only sells authentic goods, any counterfeit goods can possibly end up on sale.

Evidence of bank statements from Bond Street Boutique indicate that it is highly unlikely that goods are regularly being submitted for authenticity checks by a third party. This is because transactions to that third party are present in the statements, but there’s very few of them which suggests goods aren’t being checked that often.

It is entirely possible that authenticity checks are being performed by the company and they are coming away satisfied with the results. However, if that is the case it brings into question the usefulness of these checks and/or the company’s competence in administering them because these fakes are clearly evading the in-house checks if they are being put on sale and sold to unsuspecting customers.

The alternative, of course, is that these counterfeit goods are knowingly being sold. There is no evidence to support that and no suggestion, at the moment, that the company knows fakes are deliberately being sold.

It seems that an attempt at damage limitation from these allegations has taken place. In one instance, the company allegedly offered one customer a certificate of authenticity for their handbag as the customer complained that it was fake, but the customer refused it as they had already had the handbag authenticated as fake. It’s not clear what the purpose was behind offering a certificate of authenticity after the event.

It is difficult to see how a business built around authenticity can continue to operate with allegations of selling counterfeit goods swirling around. There’s no evidence that the company is deliberately selling counterfeit items. At the same time, it is difficult to understand why a series of companies have shut down and restarted under different names only to be met with the same allegations by different customers.

Indeed, turnover for Bond Street Boutique has dropped precipitously since March 2024, falling from approximately £18,000 (itself a huge decrease from the dizzying heights of October 2023 when turnover was approximately £50,000) to seemingly just over £2,000 in April and then just under £500 in May.

On that basis it is therefore also difficult to understand why Ms Pinfold thought and stated in a recent email sent to customers of Bond Street Boutique that the business should have stopped trading in October, its most successful month to date, as allegedly the business was “really struggling” during that time and the businesses needed to turn over at least £7,000 each month to “break even”, or how the business was down £19,000 in December 2023 when its turnover was around £40,000.

In that email, Bond Street Boutique stated they consulted with Business Debtline and plans to issue a “proposal” on 20th June 2024. The email included the ominous warning that the company was allegedly advised to issue by Business Debtline stating the following:

“If this, or any correspondence regarding the business, Emma Pinfold’s personal life, the businesses current financial situation and monies owed, any public name or business “tagging” is shared publicly in any format; social media, chat groups or on personal social media pages, or with any of the four afore mentioned persons and if any direct contact is made with Miss Shannon Vella, this will result in immediate closure of the business, and I will no longer be able to help you recover your debts.”

It’s not clear who the statement should be attributed to.

Allegations of running an illegal online raffle

To run an online raffle under UK law, you must be licensed by the relevant licensing authority or qualify for one of the statutory exemptions. A company operating an online raffle for profit to its customers must therefore hold a licence from the Gambling Commission to do that.

Bond Street Boutique have previously sent out emails to customers offering a raffle. In January 2024, they offered the chance for customers to win a Mulberry Mini in Black worth £695. The price was £10 per entry and the raffle draw date was January 31st 2024. There were 100 tickets available. It is unclear who, if anyone, won the raffle.

A subsequent raffle was then held via a video uploaded to Facebook in March for Prelovable. The video cuts off before the winner is announced so it’s unclear who, if anyone, won that raffle either.

I was able to confirm with the Gambling Commission that Bond Street Boutique Limited is not registered or licensed to run online raffles. They went on to state that doing so is a criminal offence and that, where appropriate, they would investigate such instances and take appropriate action.

Allegations of attempting to use the police to shut down online criticism

On 10th April 2024, the Instagram account of Prelovable put up a story that claimed to want to get in touch with a woman and included a Kent Police crime reference number and the Kent Police logo. People who saw it at the time claim they thought it meant that there was an active police investigation into this woman.

It appears from documentary evidence that the crime reference number concerns allegations of trolling, harassment, and defamation reported by Ms Pinfold to be targeting her and her companies. Plainly, the police would not deal with allegations of defamation as that’s a civil issue.

The same crime reference number has been given to other people by Ms Pinfold who has told them that Kent Police are “very keen” to speak with them and that the police would be in contact with those people “shortly”. Upon contacting the police, these people have learned that there is no active investigation into them under that reference number.

It is my understanding that Kent Police have since asked Ms Pinfold and her company to remove the image with the crime reference number but that she has, so far, failed to do so. It’s unclear why.

The people involved consider this to be an attempt by the company to silence them from voicing legitimate criticism of Ms Pinfold and her companies by using the police inappropriately to threaten them with criminal sanctions. It’s unclear why the company appears to be behaving so aggressively or what it thinks it will achieve by threatening people with the police in this fashion, especially when considered in the context of earlier messages from the company to individual consignors which give the impression of wanting them to not discuss the company publicly either.

Conclusion

Emails and phone calls to the company went unanswered and I was not able to make contact with anyone to offer them the right to reply before this article was published. Of course, if a reply is offered I will update this article to make that clear.

I have presented the facts and opinions I have gathered during the course of my investigation, and the evidence to back up those facts and opinions. Now it’s up to you to make up your own mind.