Birmingham wholesaler to pay £56,600 for sale of unsafe chargers
A Birmingham businessman, who sold unsafe phone chargers and counterfeit Blackberry and Nokia accessories supplied by ‘a man in a van’, was today (2 June) ordered to pay £56,610 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Inderjit Singh, director of Ardenworth Limited, pleaded guilty to five offences, under the Trade Marks Act 1984, Consumer Protection Act 1987, Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 1994 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, during the sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court. Singh has six months to pay or could face two years in prison, plus he must complete 120 hours’ unpaid community work.
Birmingham City Council brought the case against Ardenworth Limited after trading standards officers seized more than 2,500 mobile phone chargers and accessories, plus more than 600 mobile phone covers bearing unauthorised Blackberry and Nokia logos during an inspection of its premises at Unit 1, Well Street, Hockley on 14 December 2011. In total, officers seized 47 boxes of goods.
Ardenworth Limited traded as High Profile Accessories Limited, of which Singh is also a director. Ardenworth Limited was fined £1,200 for a combination of eight electrical safety and trademark offences and also ordered to pay court costs of £8,392.
Both companies are registered at Winston Churchill House in Ethel Street, Birmingham, but neither are currently trading.
Essential safety tests revealed that none of the phone chargers were deemed safe to use: the adaptor’s circuits broke down when test voltage was applied; the conductors posed a risk of fire or electric shock; and the plug pins were the wrong size – which could result in the socket being damaged or overheating.
Singh admitted, when interviewed by officers on 22 March 2012, that the goods were bought from ‘a man in a van’ with the intention on selling them on through a chain of shops, including outlets in Hull, London and Manchester.
Jacqui Kennedy, Birmingham City Council’s director of regulation and enforcement, said: “When people buy electrical goods they rely on them meeting rigorous safety standards, they don’t expect to be at risk from everyday items like mobile phone chargers.
“The reality is that these products failed essential safety tests and you wouldn’t want your phone to catch fire or explode while it’s charging. This is why it is vital that Trading Standards take action and bring cases like this to the public’s attention.
“Officers also seized a large number of phone covers which broke regulations on the use of trade marks, which consumers may not be aware of, as they bore fake Blackberry and Nokia logos. These are global brands which have been built up over decades, and do not deserve to be damaged as a result of their logos being used on inferior or unlicensed products.”
Media contact: Emma Brady, Press and PR Officer, on 0121 303 6969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors: Ardenworth Limited has 28 days to pay the £1,200 fine and £8,392 costs, and six months to pay the £56,610 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.