Unsafe products seized in a crackdown to protect consumers

Trading Standards Officer
Trading Standards Officer

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service has seized hundreds of unsafe imported goods destined to be sold online.

The 498 unsafe items included toys, ultra violet nail lamps, wax heaters, nail dryers, garden machinery, gas powered scooters and electrical chargers.

Among products confiscated were 8,000 counterfeit Rubik’s cubes destined to be given away at a Santa’s Grotto and 98 counterfeit ‘Angry Birds’ toys destined for an importer on the Isle of Wight. Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Officers also advised several businesses regarding a further 5,500 incorrectly labelled toys.

The faulty electrical goods were found to have inadequate protection against electric shock, inadequate supply cords, counterfeit plugs, unsafe fuses and many products were not supplied with instructions or traceability.

Safety issues with garden machinery included; fuel pipes being too short to be safely connected, a brake lever on one item broke on first use, no guide bar cover for one of the chainsaws, and the electrical cord being insufficient for the current carried.

The goods were examined by County Council Trading Standards officers at special inspection points along the M27. These are called ‘enhanced remote transit sheds’ (ERTS) and they allow goods to be removed from the port of Southampton while they await clearance from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Policy and Resources, said: “It is excellent that consumers in Hampshire and beyond have been saved from being out of pocket now these thousands of unsafe imports have been seized by Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service. Our approach is to prevent unsafe goods from getting onto the UK market. Not only can they pose risks to users they can also be unfair competition to those importers who do follow the correct procedures, have the necessary paperwork and take their responsibilities seriously. These imported goods are often of inferior quality and/or dangerous, there is little opportunity for people to get their money back.

“Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Officers and counterparts at Southampton City Council regularly examine consignments of goods which have been imported from outside the European Union to the UK in order to protect the public from unsafe goods entering the market. If you are a business looking to import products, the advice is to do some research before you begin.”

If unsafe goods are found in ERTS by Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers they will work with business to find a suitable solution. Often the goods have to be destroyed, should the business ignore advice to satisfy the safety requirements and go on to sell the goods the maximum penalty for not complying with the relevant legislation is a fine of up to £20,000.

New businesses looking to import are encouraged to speak to their local Trading Standards Office at an early stage. If you are in Hampshire and would like further information contact Hampshire County Council’s Trading Service on 01962 833620