Sale of faulty heaters sees Romford company fined
A Romford company was fined �1000 after being convicted for selling “unsafe” faulty electric heaters which could have led to a fire or electric shock.
London Europe Ltd trading as Home Stores in The Mall was caught out during test purchases led by Havering Council Fair Trading Officers between January and March last year.
Fair trading officers found an �8 HL-3 heater faulty from a test purchase on January 6, a further one, of the same model, faulty from a purchase on February 4 and seized a further 24 heaters (a mixture of HL-1, HL-2, HL-3, HL-4 and HL-5) for testing on March 15. Only the HL-5 model passed.
Director of the company, Osman Kaderia, was hauled in front of Havering Magistrates on Friday, June 10, to face up to four charges for selling halogen heaters with defective wiring which breached the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations Act and Consumer Protection Act.
Mark Himsworth, prosecuting on behalf of Havering Council, said the heaters thought to be from the far east were all found to have similar faults including loose connecting wires, no provisions to prevent the accidental loosening of the earth terminal, and insufficient length of the earth wire. One heater also had a faulty safety tilt switch, which is supposed to automatically turn off the heater if knocked over.
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The problems were identified by expert electrical engineer Dave Tingey who was drafted in to examine the heaters by Havering’s Fair Trading department.
He deemed them all to be unsafe and a fire hazard.
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Mr Tingey told the court the loose connections “could have led to over-heating or sparking which in time could cause a fire”.
He also said: “If the earthing connection is lost the heater would still operate and get hot. If then the insulation became damaged for whatever reason then accessible metal parts of that heater would become live and anybody touching that heater could receive an electric shock.”
Mr Tingey concluded: “I found them to be unsafe. There was a risk of electric shock. There were risks and dangers involved with losing an earth connection.”
Mr Kaderia pleaded a defence of due diligence and claimed More4, who he said was the supplier, were to blame but during investigations officers were unable track that company down.
London Europe Ltd was convicted on all four charges, and fined �500 on each of two of the counts with no separate penalty in respect of the other two. The company also had to pay full court costs of �4,114.
Cllr Lesley Kelly, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “These dangerous heaters could have caused electric shocks or even caught fire. Thanks to our officers they can no longer be sold to the public. We take a very tough stance against such businesses and this fine will send a stark warning to others.”