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Two stores off London’s Tooting High Street, Fish Universe and Fish World, look almost indistinguishable from outside – but only since last month, when Fish World allegedly “copied” the branding from Fish Universe completely.
Fish Universe has been on Mitcham Road since 2014. Next to it, there used to be Meat Wize. But in October, Meat Wize changed its name to Fish World and swapped its red and black sign to a blue and white one – just like Fish Universe’s.
Fish Universe owner Rafa Kashefi, 34, said: “We used to say ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you’ every day for the last three years, then one day they do this.
“They stole everything from us.
“They stole the sign of the shop, the layout, the name, even the uniform!”
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War has erupted between Fish Universe and Fish World in Tooting
He added: “We are a family business that has worked hard for our reputation.
“For them to come along and do this is an insult.
“They aren’t on Google, when you search their name we come up first.”
One of Fish Universe’s customers once went into Fish World to ask about their rebranding, Mr Kashefi explained, and they were told “it isn’t any of their business”.
Meanwhile, he doesn’t approach them “because there’s no point trying to reason with a person who does that”.
Rafa Kashefi has accused Fish World of ‘stealing’ Fish Universe’s branding
The owner of Fish World, Manan, told MyLondon: “People are copying me, I’m not copying anyone.
“Our shops are completely different. We added this new fish bit recently but we sell meat, they don’t sell meat.
“We sell other products they don’t sell. We sell African and Caribbean fish that they don’t.”
Saying he has been a fishmonger for 20 years, he dubbed his fish empire bigger and accused his neighbour of being jealous.
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Inside, the two fish shops — Fish World left, Fish Universe right — look considerably similar too
Fish Universe’s Mr Kashefi, claiming even the council gets confused by the similarities of their signs, got a fly-tipping fine after some items were left on the road outside an alleyway leading to both shops.
CCTV images sent to him by the council, however, showed the fine was for Fish World.
Disappointed with the lack of support from Wandsworth Borough Council, Mr Kashefi said: “When I need to pay my business rate, they get in contact.
“When they want to falsely accuse me of fly-tipping, they get in contact.
Fish Universe’s message for customers following the row with neighbour Fish World
“But when I ask the council to help me with someone stealing our brand, they don’t want to help.
“As someone who pays a lot of money in business rates, that’s very frustrating.”
Wandsworth Borough Council stated: “The aggrieved shopkeeper needs to seek his own legal advice on this matter.”
Fish Universe said they have now changed their “signature” blue uniform to a red one in a bid to look different from their new competitor.
It has also put a notice up on its door saying: “Fish Universe is not associated with Fish World and does not promote, endorse or support this shop.
“We are highly qualified fishmongers, and we are passionate about fish and the environment.
“We have stayed true to our core values, ensuring every single product we sell is the freshest, best quality available.
“Fish Universe is not liable for any loss arisen from either the use of a Fish World product or service.”