20,000 potentially ‘lethal’ electrical goods seized in London

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Over 20,000 electrical goods have been seized during a massive, London-wide raid.

22 Trading Standards Officers, together with police, customs and immigration teams, descended on a warehouse in Enfield on 15th December 2015. The co-ordinated action was part of a project funded by National Trading Standards to combat sales of dangerous imports.

Goods inluding laptop chargers, adapters, Christmas lights, PC tablets and sat navs were seized during the raid.

See the article below for more information:

http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/HF_trading_standards_officers_seize_potentially_dangerous_goods_in_Xmas_raid.asp

Solihull Trading Standards have been extensively involved in combatting the rising tide of cheap, unsafe electrical goods coming into the country through Birmingham Airport. We will continue to work closely with Border Force to stop illegal goods getting through.

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Gang who scammed man, 94, out of £130k are found guilty

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A London gang have been convicted of their role in the country’s biggest courier fraud scam after duping seven elderly people into handing over a total of £273,000. One of their victims was a 94 year old man who lost his life savings of £130,000. Detectives believe the group were involved in a larger industrial-scale fraud plot with around 140 victims being tricked into handing over £1million.

The scam worked by elderly victims being conned into withdrawing money and handing it over to the criminals as part of a fake police investigation into fraudulent activities involving their bank accounts. The investigation found that a total of 5,695 calls had been made to 3,774 different numbers across the UK using 16 telephone lines.

See an article about the deception here:

http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/crime-court/guilty_courier_fraud_gang_who_scammed_north_west_london_man_94_out_of_130k_1_4344861

Legitimate agencies such as the police or trading standards will NEVER ask for money or your personal banking details.

Let us all join together to stop these people.

 

 

Landmark judgement made in parking fines on private land

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There has been a lot of confusion in recent years about the legality of parking fines on private land – ‘Do I have to pay it?’ ‘Is the fine reasonable or excessive?’

A recent judgement made in the UK Supreme Court has answered these questions:

  • Yes, you DO have to pay
  • An £85 charge for overstaying in a privately owned carpark by one hour IS a reasonable charge

The case centred around a Mr Beavis who parked in a car park on 15th April 2013. There was a two hour limit on parking but Mr Beavis did not leave the car park until one hour after this time limit had elapsed. He was issued with a parking fine for £85. Mr Beavis argued that the fine was unenforceable at common law as a penalty, and/or that it was unfair and unenforceable by virtue of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

The justices dismissed Mr Beavis’ case and upheld the fact that the fine WAS fair and reasonable.

The ruling will clarify the situation for parking enforcement companies and consumers alike although we think the latter (at least those who do not pay the parking fee or overstay) are more likely to be the unhappier of the two.

For full information on the case and the judgement you can visit:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2015-0116.html

Selling unsafe toys? It could be a VERY expensive mistake…

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A London company selling £10 teddy bears to tourists has been fined £16,000 after selling dangerous toys imported from China.

The teddies – kitted out in ‘fetching’ iconic British costumes – had loose eyes which could easily have presented a choking hazard to a child.

Company owner Li Young was fined for failing to verify that the products matched safety rules.

See the article here:

http://www.lbc.co.uk/huge-fine-for-company-selling-dangerous-toys-to-tourists-118014

If you have information to suggest that potentially unsafe products are being sold in Solihull please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

The City becoming concerned that more and more scammers are contaminating their ‘brand’

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(picture credit – Jack Torcello)

Solihull Trading Standards unfortunately know only too well how the City of London has become infested with rogues peddling their insidious investment scams.

We have dealt with numerous residents in Solihull who have fallen foul of this pernicious type of fraud. They have lost tens and tens of thousands of pounds to criminals whose ‘business plan’ is to cold call vulnerable members of society (often via ‘suckers’ lists acquired for money within the criminal fraternity) and sell empty, worthless ‘investment’ opportunities. The ‘product’ varies from diamonds, fine wine, carbon credits to land banking schemes and victims become immersed in an addictive, vicious circle of futility, harassed in their own home by  ‘brokers’ and desperately trying to recoup their losses through further financial outlays.

Glamorous office locations such as The Shard, The Gherkin or Regents Street and sleek, professional literature seemingly attest to the legitimacy of these businesses. In reality, however, a simple post box and vacuous promises of healthy returns are all that the victim can expect. See the full article here:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e994f42c-4660-11e5-af2f-4d6e0e5eda22.html#axzz3kapc27Wn

We have personally seen the devastating effects these criminals can have on the lives of vulnerable people. People have lost their entire life savings on absolutely nothing and effectively become prisoners in their own home, scared to open their post or answer the incessantly ringing phone.

Help us to stop these crimes. If you feel that you have been a victim of a scam or are concerned about the behaviour of somebody you know please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Fancy London addresses don’t always mean you won’t get scammed….

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A con man has been handed an 8 year prison sentence for his part in an £8 million scam where he deceived hundreds of people with bogus wine investments.

Spyros Constantinos used a Canary Wharf address to add credibility to his empty claims. People were promised huge returns if they invested their life savings in ‘luxury’ wine portfolios.

More than 300 complaints about Mr Constantinos were made to the council. The fraudster blew his ill gotten gains on travelling the world and shopping sprees at Harrods and Selfridges.

See the article here:

http://www.wharf.co.uk/news/local-news/con-man-uses-canary-wharf-9784351

Solihull Trading Standards have received numerous complaints about scam companies claiming to operate from prestigious locations in the capital. The Gherkin, The Shard and Regent Street feature among the desirable ‘HQs’ claimed by the fraudsters. In reality small post boxes for incoming mail constitute their ‘centre of operations.’

Trading Standards is fighting back against these inveterate criminals. If you feel that you have been the victim of a scam or are concerned about someone please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

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‘070’ Warning from the Met Police

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Over 2,600 reports have been received by Action Fraud during the last 12 months relating to ‘070’ telephone numbers.

Known as ‘personal numbers’, they are virtual numbers often programmed to forward incoming calls to one of a list of fixed or VoIP telephone numbers pre-selected by the client. VoIP numbers allow phone calls over the Internet, enabling calls to be made or received anywhere with an internet connection, which makes tracing the calls much more difficult.

Calls from a landline can cost up to 65p p/min and may incur an additional call set-up fee of up to 51p. Calls from mobiles can cost up to £1.50 p/min. In extreme cases, victims have received triple figure phone bills as a result of calling these premium rate numbers. Providers of ‘personal numbers’ include Vodafone, Magrathea, and Digital Mail.

See the full article here:

http://content.met.police.uk/Article/070-Warning-over-premium-rate-phone-numbers/1400027995051/1400027995051

Using the wrong charger? This could happen

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London Fire Brigade have issued a warning about the risks of using the wrong charger after a remote controlled toy car burst into flames while the adult and child slept. The full article can be seen here:

http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/LatestNewsReleases_ToycarblazesparksBrigadesafetywarning.asp

Is it worth the risk getting a counterfeit or cheap charger? If you have concerns over the safety of a product call us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06