Birmingham-based firm fined £10,000 for distributing ‘unsafe’ electrical goods
Bosses of a Birmingham imports firm were today (7 May 2014) were fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to 60 offences, under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 1994.
Director Yi Li and manager Zhi Zheng had, at an earlier hearing (9 March 2014), pleaded to 20 offences each, plus a further 20 charges in relation to the safety of electrical goods distributed by Newemoo Ltd for online electrical retailers based in China.
Li was ordered to pay £6,000 plus £2,546 in costs, while Zheng was fined £5,000 plus £2,546 in costs. Both were also instructed to pay a £50 victim surcharge each. All monies are to be paid within 28 days.
Birmingham Trading Standards brought the case against the company – based at 2-4 Benacre Road, Digbeth – after colleagues at Suffolk County Council seized rechargeable batteries and wireless camera kits shipped into Felixstowe, which failed tests under safety legislation.
Mr Li and Mr Zheng had received three warnings since August 2012 to ensure that all the electrical products imported by Newemoo Ltd must comply with UK and European safety standards and have test reports for all products checked.
The case was referred to Birmingham Trading Standards and as a result officers visited their trade premises on 26 February 2013 to fully inspect goods at the firm’s warehouse. After staff failed to provide test certificates as requested, officers seized a range of products including battery chargers, fairy lights and adaptors.
During that visit, a suspension notice was served on Newemoo Ltd which stated it should not supply electrical products which did not have valid test certificates. In May 2013, Trading Standards officers tested a sample of 20 products – all failed essential safety tests, as a result of faulty plugs, construction, unsuitable wire insulation or lack of clear instructions or markings.
Mr Li and Mr Zheng faced a total of 60 offences – 20 each, plus a further 20 for Newemoo Ltd.
Jacqui Kennedy, Birmingham City Council’s director of regulation and enforcement, said: “When people buy electrical goods rely on them meeting rigorous safety standards, they don’t expect to be at risk from everyday items like chargers, adaptors or fairy lights.
“The reality is that these imported products failed essential safety tests and you wouldn’t want your camera or laptop to catch fire or explode while it was charging. That is why it is important for Trading Standards take action and bring cases like this to the public’s attention.”