And the medal for worst Olympic participant goes to...


Lord Coe's invitation to "own a piece of Olympic history" has turned sour after fans threatened to sue the company behind the auction of memorabilia from last year's Games, accusing it of failing to deliver the goods.

Olympic addicts were invited to snap up items ranging from the peasant outfits worn in the Opening Ceremony to the batons carried in relay finals and signed outfits worn by Bradley Wiggins and other British medal-winners.

But Innovative Sports Ltd, the Canadian company running the auction site, has admitted that it does not possess some of the exclusive items it sold to customers, who have complained that they have yet to receive their goods, months after purchasing.

Damian Kelly, a solicitor from Leeds, told The Independent: "I bought all the result sheets for Michael Phelps' historic swimming events in August. They still haven't arrived. I have spent £7,000 on outstanding items. To say I am annoyed is an understatement."

Mr Kelly said he had contacted Innovative Sports in Vancouver. "I was told they could get Seb Coe to sign an Olympics book instead. With all due respect to Seb, it's no substitute."

Mr Kelly claims he was told that Innovative Sports did not yet have the Phelps results sheets it had sold. "Advertising items for sale you do not possess could be a case of fraud," said the solicitor, who has approached other customers who are also missing items. "I am speaking to a barrister soon about launching legal proceedings," Mr Kelly said. The company has strongly denied any allegations of fraud.

Another customer, Ferris Cowper, wrote on a blog: "I was stupid enough to buy an Olympic Torch at a cost of £4,300, thinking I was buying from London 2012. This outfit took my money and failed to deliver the torch after four different delivery date promises."

Mr Cowper has taken legal advice to discover if "a crime may have been committed by organisations involved with this activity by taking money for goods where there is no intention to supply."

Customers complained that emails to Innovative Sports were no longer being answered. Another was told that the delay on his Bradley Wiggins item was "due to his accident", after the cyclist was hospitalised following a road collision last November. "Not sure how you can sell an item that you don't actually have," the customer wrote.

Concerns were first raised over Innovative Sports, which claims to be "one of the premier sports marketing companies in the world", after the limited company behind the sale notified Companies House that it was dissolving and was removed from the register of companies, two days after the Games ended. The company had said this was a mistake and the company was later re-instated.

Jon Curleigh, a director at Innovative Sports, said: "We were overwhelmed by the success of the Games and caught off guard by the demand. Unfortunately some of the products didn't materialise in the way they should have. The issue is people wanting products that we just don't have. We are offering everyone affected a 100 per cent full refund. Some people don't want the refund, they want their products. I don't know what to do about that."

Mr Curleigh denied any suggestion of fraud because "there was no absolutely no intention to deceive". Delays had been caused by the need to authenticate products. In other cases, athletes like Wiggins had been unable to sign items because they were injured, Mr Curleigh suggested.

A message on the official auction website states that Innovative Sports will start dispatching items on 21 January following the relocation of its warehouse and thanked customers for their "patience and understanding".

A Locog spokesman said: "We are not aware of any issues regarding the memorabilia website but will contact the company concerned and ask about these claims and will look into any specific information provided to us."

'We paid our money but they claim there's no record of it'

Charlotte Roberts, from Oxford, bought a pair of lamp-post banners depicting the Olympic and Paralympic logos for £105 as a Christmas present for her daughter, Alexia.

She said: "We ordered our items on 2 December, well before the Christmas deadline and they still haven't arrived. Our nine-year-old is Olympics-mad and she was very upset."

Mrs Roberts complained to Locog, which is giving disappointed customers the email address of Innovative Sports in Canada. "We heard nothing so we called the company in Vancouver," Mrs Roberts said. "They said they didn't have a record of what had been dispatched." Mrs Roberts added: "We don't know if our banners will ever be delivered."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...