Firm fined £3,400 for unsafe chargers and cosmetics

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court

A Birmingham shop owner was sentenced to 200 hours’ unpaid work after pleading guilty to 25 offences relating to electrical safety, counterfeit goods and labelling regulations, at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court last month (18 July 2014).

Birmingham City Council brought a case against Dalil Singh Bedi, aged 39, who owns Pound Plus Supermarket, at 396 Dudley Road, Winson Green, following a public complaint about an iPhone charger bought at the store last year.

Bedi was also ordered to pay court costs of £2,276 and a £60 victim surcharge, while Pound Plus Supermarket was fined £3,400 and ordered to pay £120 victim surcharge.

A concerned shopper contacted Birmingham Trading Standards in March 2013, after she bought an iPhone-branded charger from Bedi’s shop, which exploded when she plugged it into a socket at home. When she returned it to Pound Plus Supermarket, Bedi offered a replacement but this also exploded when she tried to charge her phone.

Officers visited the shop on 9 April 2013 and showed Bedi the charger and receipt before inspecting the premise, during which more than 70 chargers were seized, along with a number of Dr Dre Beats headphones.

Essential safety tests, conducted by Electrical Safety Assessments Limited, revealed the electrical products seized, including phone chargers, were unsafe and did not comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1994).

A number of cosmetic products – including Nandra Small Nail Henna, Fair and Lovely hair dyes, Subaru black hair colour, Kokila and Khadi Herbal Mendhi – were also seized for failing to comply with labelling requirements under the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008.

Tests carried out at Birmingham City Council Laboratories revealed that samples of Khadi Herbal Mendi contained Barium salts – an ingredient prohibited under Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008 – which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, facial numbness and muscle weakness.

When interviewed by officers on 27 June 2013, Bedi claimed he had bought most of these products from ‘a man in a van’ who sold a variety of goods but did not supply invoices. Pound Plus Supermarket was able to continue trading throughout this process.

Dr Dre Beats headphones and Apple (iPhone) items were also found to be counterfeit, under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, 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 chargers or adaptors.

“The reality is that these products failed essential safety tests and you wouldn’t want your phone to catch fire or explode while it was charging, which is why it’s important for Trading Standards take action and bring cases like this to the public’s attention.

“Consumers also rely on the labelling of cosmetics to be accurate and clearly visible, so they can be assured of their safety. Many of these products didn’t list their ingredients correctly, which meant shoppers buying them were potentially put at risk – especially as one contained barium salts.  Shoppers should always check the ingredients of any cosmetics, otherwise they could end up with a rash or scarring as an unwanted accessory.”