Friday, 20 July 2012

Bed Company Gets Rude Awakening Thanks To Trading Standards

A company has been fined more than £10,000 for selling unapproved beds to vulnerable people.

Following a joint investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Glasgow based Relief Healthcare admitted four charges under the medical devices regulations 2002 and five charges under consumer protection laws.

Cambridge Magistrates fined the company and its Managing Director John McConville, £10,250 and ordered the firm to pay £20,000 costs.

Relief Healthcare Ltd claimed the beds and massage therapy mattresses could help with a range of conditions including diabetes, broken bones, weight loss and "breaking down poison in the body," the court heard.

But there was no clinical evidence to support the claims and the products, which cost thousands of pounds each, were not licensed for sale in the UK.

The MHRA, which brought the prosecution with Trading Standards, added that sales staff used misleading and unfair sales techniques on a number of vulnerable people.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards investigated complaints over a period of 18 months with victims in East Anglia and into Lincolnshire. 11 elderly and vulnerable people and their relatives gave statements to Trading Standards officers and were prepared to give evidence in court.

County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise (which includes Trading Standards), Councillor Mathew Shuter, said: "Trading Standards worked closely with other regulatory agencies to bring this case to court. Relief Healthcare preyed on vulnerable people by cold calling them making false claims about the nature of the call to persuade the public to buy their beds and mattresses. I am delighted by the outcome of the court hearing."